Feeder cattle rally now six weeks old, demand strong

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Demand for yearling feeder cattle continues to push prices higher at all offering points. Last week’s trade was called firm to $7 higher with the strongest markets in the Northern Plains and upper Midwest. Southern Plains markets were called unevenly steady to $4 higher.

Steer and heifer calves were pegged at $1 to $4 per hundredweight higher, and the higher prices are pulling more new-crop calves out of the country and into the marketplace.

“This week yearling buyers turned more toward the thinner-fleshed 600- to 800-pound old-crops to take advantage of more days on feed with a new-crop corn ration, as opposed to the last several weeks of buying up the heaviest feeders on offer,” says USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall. “However, Northern feedlots still like the performance of 800- to 1000-pound green yearlings during the fall months as most still plan on growing these cattle another 500- to 700-pounds, since nobody loads 1,250-pound fat cattle on river market-bound rail cars anymore.”

Wall reported 1,300 head of top-quality steers weighing 918 pounds sold at Bassett and Valentine, NE, last week for $147.48 per hundredweight ($1,353 per head). He also noted several sales of 7-weight steers “well into the $160s, and 6-weights deep into the $170s.” He also noted at pot-load of 619-pound heifers sold in Stanford, KY, for $150.95 per hundredweight.

“Even though feeder cattle supplies are tight, marketing has been heavy the last several weeks with huge video and direct sales along with on-site sale barns holding their own,” Wall says.

Last week’s auction receipts totaled 168,500 compared to 164,700 the previous week and 156,900 last year. Direct trade totaled 66,300 with video/Internet at 212,400 for a total of 447,200, compared to 273,100 last year.

Fed cattle saw another week of steady prices at $119 per hundredweight with a few cattle in the North at $120. Boxed beef prices traded $2 higher to $0.50 lower compared to the previous week, with Choice boxed beef down $2.31 from last Friday at $189.22. Select boxed beef traded $0.50 higher at $184.17. The Choice-Select spread narrowed to $5.05.

Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to weak. USDA’s cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday was $160.72, up $1.44 from last Friday.

USDA’s cattle on feed report, released Friday, found 10.37 milli5 on cattle in U.S. feedyards, down 3 percent from last year. June placements totaled 1.59 million head, down percent from last year. June marketings totaled 1.9 million head, 4 percent below last year.

Analysts noted a large number of heavyweight placements in June compared to the previous year, but also saw a 1 percent higher marketing number than last year. They described the report as mostly neutral to the market.  



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