Stocker and feeder cattle prices were steady to higher this week at most auctions. Early week news of a frost threat to the corn crop drove corn prices higher, but prices fell back as the week progressed. Much needed rain fell across much of cattle country, and heavy rains in south and central Texas improved the prospects of fall grazing. That news, coupled with strengthening fed cattle prices, helped support feeder cattle prices.
Cattle feeders will be watching the final developments of this year’s corn crop, and the threat of an early frost will add volatility to the market. Owners of feeder cattle are also hoping the corn crop is a bin buster as that will support strong bids on feeder cattle and calves this fall.
A few fed cattle have sold this week at $84.50per hundredweight, and feedyards were continuing to ask $87. Feedyards will continue to struggle with negative margins, which will translate into softer buyer demand for feeders. Both live and slaughter weights are increasing over last year’s large number.
Feeder steers weighing 700 to 800 pounds sold at auction in a range of $95 to $107 per hundredweight last week, with the bulk of cattle at $97 to $100. Steer calves weighing 400 to 500 pounds sold in a range of $109 to $127 per hundredweight, with the bulk of cattle in the $111 to $117 range.