Compared to last week, yearlings sold fully steady to 5.00 higher and in most cases full advance placed on heavy yearlings over 800 lbs. Demand remains very good on yearlings as the draw of higher fed cattle prices last week continues to bring additional interest back to feeder cattle and cattle futures. Steer and heifer calves traded steady to 5.00 higher in markets where they are fully tested. Cash fed and feeder cattle prices continue to outdo expectations even perplex many in the business.
The insistence of bearish fundamentals or concerns with plentiful supplies of pork and poultry, larger fed cattle supplies and heavier carcass weights is not drawing away excellent early pasture conditions which should limit feedlot replacement activity, along with tight feeder supplies. Receipts were light this week at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City on Monday with 4036 head as severe storms and heavy rains have caused flooding throughout the state; making it hard for producers to gather and ship cattle off graze out wheat pastures.
On Wednesday at OKC-West in El Reno, OK sold over 7600 head of feeder cattle with over 1000 head of 900-950 lb steers on offer averaging 921 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 200.21/cwt. Replacement quality heifers still remain in good demand as in Torrington, Wy on Wednesday sold a part load of 747 lb heifers by the head for 1810.00 a little over 242.00/lb and 77 head weighing 777 lbs for 1850.00 per head about 238.00/lb.
Choice Boxed Beef prices continue to be a bright spot this week refusing to cool its heels before Memorial Day Weekend as Choice product on Wednesday closed with impressive gains of 2.21 higher at 263.17 its highest close since January 14th and Choice product posting all-time highs on Thursday closing a 1.57 higher at 264.74. Choice Boxed-beef then turned bearish on Friday closing 2.81 lower at 261.93. With Memorial, Father’s, and Independence Day looming ahead of us, beef demand should be more than adequate over the next 40 days.
USDA released its May WASDE report on Tuesday with US corn ending stocks for 2015-16 at 1.746 billion bushels, based on 13.63 billion bushels of production with an average yield of 166.8 bpa. The new corn crop ending stocks estimate is down from 1.851 billion bushels in 2014-15 but within trade expectations. The Avian Bird Flu outbreak so far has affected sixteen states with USDA-AMS Agriculture Analytics Division estimating as of May 8th 28,700,000 total birds lost. Despite this news from AAD, corn traders have ignored the reduction in corn usage at this point with lost corn consumption coming to 630,000 bushels per week.
Impact on feed demand remains small overall, but with constant headlines and growing concerns of more poultry losses will be watched carefully. Corn and soybean planting sped along faster than trade expected last week with USDA reporting 75 percent of the corn planted up from 55 percent the week before and the five-year average of 57 percent completed. With Iowa at 83 percent, Illinois 88 percent, Nebraska 76 percent, and Minnesota at 95 percent corn planting completed. The Eastern Corn Belt remains behind but made good gains last week with Indiana and Ohio at 52 percent and 55 percent completed. Soybean planting is at 31 percent completed. Auction volume included 53 percent over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.