Fed and feeder cattle market prices declined sharply late in the third quarter of 2015. For the week ending October 11, 2015, prices for 5-area all grades were $125.36/hundredweight (5-area Fed Steers), almost $40 lower than year earlier fed steer prices.

As with fed cattle, feeder cattle prices also took a hit. Oklahoma National Stockyards prices for medium number 1 feeder steers weighing 750-800 pounds ranged between $187-$192/cwt the week ending October 5, 2015, down more than $20 compared with the same time last year. Reasons for the sharp declines in fed cattle prices could include packer reluctance to pay higher prices during a time of softening beef prices and large supplies of heavyweight cattle.

Mounting losses to cattle feeding are tempering demand for feeder cattle, pressuring feeder cattle prices downward. These plunging feeder calf prices will impact returns for cow-calf producers.