Compared to last week, feeder cattle and calves sold mostly steady to 5.00 higher with a majority of sales ranging from 2.00-5.00 higher. As a whole, receipts are currently made up of growing lot yearlings and fall born calves both carrying considerable flesh, but there seems to be plenty of buyers eagerly bidding on all classes.
True grass ready stocker cattle still bring top billing. The last three weeks, feedlots have traded fat cattle higher, despite poor processing margins. Demand and attitudes have come out from under a cloud that had plagued them since the first of the year. The CME cattle complex continues to see increasing open interest in positions, but market behavior is nothing new as CME cattle futures can be leery about keeping distance between the futures and the cash market.
Spring beef demand, fed and feeder cattle availability, packer margins and slaughter increases will be key market factors. There are market watchers who feel there is still some fuel left in these rockets with available supplies of feeders eventually tightening and plenty of on the farm feed.
At the Bassett, NE, Livestock Auction on Wednesday sold consignments and strings of reputation Sandhill cattle with near 270 head of steers averaging 730 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 246.91 and 400 head of their bigger brothers averaging 760 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 237.09.
USDA’s Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports were released on Tuesday and pointed to larger than expected corn supplies. USDA’s estimate of 89.2 million acres of corn to be planted would be 1.5 percent lower than one year ago, but still 460,000 acres more than analysts expected. March 1 corn stocks came in at 7.740 billion bushels which was 11 percent higher than a year ago and over 130 million more than analysts had expected.
Boxed beef values continue to grind higher with positive news with warming weather helping sales and the need to restock inventories for May. Choice product closed on Friday at 255.57 with feedlot trade in Kansas 2.00 higher at 167.00 and Nebraska live sales 2.00-2.50 higher from 167.00-169.00. Auction volume included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.