Stocker cattle sold steady to $2 higher in the Plains states and most of the Southeast last week, while yearlings were mostly $2 lower. Analysts say historical data suggests that the highs for the year on feeder cattle have likely been posted. A substantial fall rally would need stronger beef demand, support from the futures markets and a good corn crop that keeps prices at current levels or below.
Many grain analysts are expecting the unseasonably cool July weather to lower the corn crop and raise prices per bushel. USDA says the corn crop is 13 percent behind the five year average for percent silking and 15 percent behind the five year average that would be in the dough stage of production.
Cash fed cattle prices were mostly $81 per hundredweight last week, and feedlots continue to struggle with poor margins. That translates into poor buyer demand for feeders, a situation that is likely to get worse as it appears feedlots have lost currentness. 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 $96 to $107 per hundredweight last week, with the bulk of cattle at $98 to $101. Steer calves weighing 400 to 500 pounds sold in a range of $109 to $127 per hundredweight, with the bulk of cattle in the $110 to $118 range.