Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle traded firm to 5.00 higher with instances 6.00-8.00 higher. Direct sales were very active this week and posted the full advance on feeder cattle. Steer and heifer calves sold mostly steady to 5.00 higher. Buyers flexed their muscle in pursuing all classes of feeder cattle this week.
Improvements in the weather across the country also did its part in adding to the feeder cattle market, especially on calves and stocker cattle that are in suitable condition for immediate turn-out and compensatory gain on greening pastures. The Southern Plains received rain and warm weather to help improve wheat crop conditions, and boost summer grazing interest on very good buyer demand. With “grass fever” in full swing following the warmer temperatures, market signals from late last week started finding confidence as most major salebarns noticed higher prices as farmer feeders and local backgrounders entered the mix. Cattle feeding can be frustrating at times with expensive overhead, fluctuations in feed prices and volatile market prices but grazing cattle on grass can be just as satisfying and rewarding. Inexpensive growth and gains are what backgrounders receive on pasture and what motivates cattlemen and farmer feeders to assemble their stockers each year.
At the St. Joseph Stockyards on Wednesday sold a string 105 head of fancy black steers weighing 828 lbs settled on a bid of 234.00 with a part load of lighter steer mates in thin condition weighing 710 lbs dropping the gavel at 266.00. Demand continues to remain very good for popular weight steer calves weighing 400-650 lbs, with many areas selling 500-550 lb steer calves selling near or above the 3.00/lb level. Cattle futures busted out of the gate on Monday with sharp triple-digit gains after the fat cattle market closed 2.00-3.00 higher last Friday with most live prices trading from 163.00-165.00.
Open interest for Live and Feeder cattle contracts has increased with this rally. Live and feeder cattle markets are starting to see prices that many analysts thought we might not see for a while or so soon. Cattle feeders are finding confidence with tight supplies and seeing some bullish momentum on the board as boxed beef prices received a shot in the arm at Midweek with sharp gains as Choice product closed above 250.00. This week’s reported auction volume included 56 percent over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.