Feeder cattle review: Feeder market geographically mixed

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Compared to last week, yearling feeders to start the week at most markets traded steady to $3 lower, but in the Northern Plains in South Dakota and Nebraska mostly from mid-week on yearlings traded with little caution trading mostly $3-$7 higher on good large strings of native yearling cattle in good weighing conditions sold on a very active market as corn prices settled down and traded mostly lower for the rest of the week after Monday’s run up. 

Calf prices for the week sold unevenly steady to $2 lower with Southeastern markets steady to $3 higher.  For the first time in fourteen weeks going back really to Memorial Weekend the overall markets to start the week showed some caution as high heat over the Corn Belt the last two weeks with little rain fueled crop worries on Monday of this week as Soybeans closed 61 cents higher and December corn closed 30 cents higher with feeder cattle futures down near the limit. 

The week started out with buyers wanting and needing to buy them cheaper but at week’s end demand remained very good for all classes of feeder cattle and when one looks at weighted average prices it’s hard to see much decline.  This tremendous run by feeder cattle has basically been fueled by a falling corn market and expectations of a large crop on the horizon. 

Prospects for a bumper corn crop still remain but it’s hard to estimate a corn crop in a year with many challenges.  Grain traders are now focusing on the weather as heat and little rain seem to suggest yields could be trimmed in many growing areas and a late planted crop has to mature before first frost arrives.  Yields and feed prices will be determined this fall when combines are rolling over corn and soybean fields. 

The Pro-Farmer’s annual crop tour did have generally good yields for corn with estimates for corn at 154.1 bushels per acre but soybeans were less impressive with low pod counts. 

The Cattle on Feed Report last Friday was definitely bullish on all accounts with tight cattle supplies.  On Thursday in Valentine, NE 800-900 lb steers sold in a range from $162.75-$170.00 with the 850-900 lbs steers having a weighted average price of $166.99!!  With corn yields looking very good in areas of South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa these very competitive feeder sales in the Northern plains seem to make it hard for cattle feeders to seize opportunity, but with cheaper cost of gains and many of these big yearlings having good weighing conditions and supplies lighter than normal has a purchasing fury on these good native Sandhill cattle going to high corn producing areas. 

Friday’s fed cattle sales in the Southern Plains traded steady with last week at $123, in Nebraska on light sales live and dressed sales traded a 1.00 lower with lives sales at $124 and dressed sales at $196.  Wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend with good grilling weather in store for everyone.  This week’s reported auction volume included 54 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.



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