Compared to last week, a good test of yearling feeder cattle sold steady to 3.00 higher with instances 5.00-7.00 higher from mid-week on. Feeder cattle buyers continue to battle in the ultra-competitive yearling market; especially in the Southern Plains were at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and at OKC-West in El Reno each had receipts of over 12,000 feeders with a heavy offering of yearling cattle. On Wednesday OKC-West in El Reno sold 166 head of thin 953 lb yearling steers at 216.80. Northern buyers continue to help drive the yearling market as last Friday, Fort Pierre Livestock Auction in Fort Pierre, SD sold near 11,000 head with almost 600 head of steers weighing 600-650 lbs sold with a weighted average weight of 615 lbs averaged 288.10 and over 1000 head of 900-950 lb steers averaging 929 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 215.01. Then on Wednesday at the Hub City Livestock Market in Aberdeen, SD over 280 head of steers weighing between 800-850 lbs averaging 839 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 228.07 and near 300 head of value added steers averaging 914 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 222.65.A much lighter offering of steer and heifer calves started the week unevenly steady to instances 5.00 lower where tested then turned steady to instances 5.00 higher as futures moved higher. At the St. Joe Stockyards on Wednesday a pot load of reputation fancy black steer calves weighing 558 lbs dropped the gavel at 310.00.
The strength in this week’s feeder market was rather surprising with last week’s standoff between packers and feedlot managers had the cash fed cattle market pretty much called off due to struggling packer margins and saw the smallest 5-Area negotiated cash trade volume of 29,141 head, as packers dug in their heels to break prices. CME cattle futures rallied higher on Monday despite last week’s very limited to lower cash trade and again closed with strong gains on Tuesday as Boxed-beef values surged. After a long period of discounting, cut-out values busted out of their lower trend to close with sharp gains as Choice product closed 3.09 higher at 247.20 and Select closed with sharp gains of 4.44 higher at 240.75. Feeder cattle futures on Wednesday rocketed sharply higher with triple digit gains of over 2.00 with pasture conditions the best shape in memory as a whole.
Superior Livestock Video Auction held their Corn Belt Classic this week selling over 66,000 head with the market compared to last month’s video 2.00-5.00 higher on feeder cattle and steers over 800 lbs selling as much as 20.00 higher than last month. This year’s lower marketing rate of fed cattle has been significantly smaller than previous years. Steer and heifer slaughter for the year to date ending May 30th is over 650,000 (6.7 percent) less than a year ago. For the same time period Imported fresh beef is near 512,000 metric tons, 35 percent higher than a year ago.
Live and Feeder Cattle futures imploded Friday on disappointing fed cattle prices and liquidation selling, losing all their gains made earlier this week. Fed cattle for the week ranged from 152.00-155.00 on live prices steady to 3.00 lower, with most of the decline coming on Friday on light volume trade. USDA’s monthly Supply and Demand Report was released Wednesday and was within estimates for the grain trade. For corn on the domestic side, corn ending stocks for 2014-15 was 25 mb larger than expected at 1.876 bb. The new crop estimate for 2015-16 climbed the same 25 mb to 1.771 bb, with the average corn yield at 166.8 bpa. The corn crop is pretty much planted with 91 percent emerged, compared to 84 percent last week, and still remains 74 percent rated good to excellent. This week’s auction volume included 56 percent over 600 lbs and 39 percent heifers.