Compared to last week, calves and yearlings sold fully steady to 5.00 higher with instances 6.00-8.00 higher and in most cases full advance placed on heavy yearlings over 800 lbs. Demand remains very good on yearlings as last week fed cattle prices saw packers come out and give mostly 2.00-3.00 more ranging from 160.00-163.00 to procure inventory. Despite lower boxed-beef prices last week and stepped up slaughter levels, there are generally plenty of bearish attitudes still lurking about.

Boxed-beef lost ground to end the week, but volume movement last week was very impressive with it being the third best week of 2015. Boxed-beef prices have rebounded this week with Memorial Day weekend looming ahead and Mother’s Day on Sunday. Wednesday’s afternoon total boxed- beef movement very impressive at 237 loads (the largest daily movement so far in 2015) with Choice product closing .59 cents higher at 256.15, and closing on Friday .54 cents higher at 258.12.

In the last couple of weeks the market has moved higher for feeders especially yearlings as feedlots continue to need a steady supply of feeders. Major auctions from Oklahoma City and El Reno, OK up to Aberdeen, SD at the Hub City Livestock auction sold yearlings mostly 3.00- 6.00 higher with a high percentage weighing from 800-1050 lbs. Auction receipts were fairly heavy throughout Oklahoma with Oklahoma National Stockyards selling over 10,000 head on Monday with several offerings of feeders coming off graze- out wheat in the area; with a large offering of heavy weight yearling cattle on offer with a number of replacement quality heifers being sold as 170 head of heifers weighing between 800-850 lbs averaging 825 lbs sold for a weighted price of 214.05. OKC-West in EL Reno on Wednesday sold over 9000 head as tornados ripped through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska Wednesday evening along with flash flooding with the Oklahoma City area seeming to be the hardest hit.

USDA’s first estimates of pasture and range conditions was released this week with 53 percent of pastures rated good to excellent, compared to 39 percent last year. Thirteen (13) percent was rated poor to very poor, compared to 22 percent last year. As of right now Mother Nature is providing good moisture to support herd expansion and grazing needs as this should limit feedlot replacement activity.

Last week farmers across the Corn Belt poured the diesel smoke to their tractors as major advances were made in corn planting with 55 percent now completed up from 19 percent the week before, compared to 30 percent a year ago and 5-year average of 38 percent. The corn crop is a long way from being in the bin with a long growing season in front of us as summer heat and rainfall will be major concerns going forward. Completed corn plantings are off to a good start through several leading corn states: with Iowa 68 percent, Illinois 69 percent, Minnesota 83 percent, and Nebraska at 57 percent completed. The Eastern Cornbelt is lagging throughout Indiana and Ohio with 21 and 15 percent planted. Auction volume this week included 52 percent over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.