Feeder steers sold $3 to $8 per cwt higher this week, with instances of $10 to $12 higher. Calves sold $5 to $15 higher. Cash fed cattle traded $7 to $9 higher. Higher prices provided some relief to cattlemen hit hard again by Mother Nature with heavy rain and/or snow.
Flooding stretched across much of the Midwest and South, while a freak late April blizzard dumped 15 to 18 inches of snow on the cattle feeding belt of the Central Plains. The rains closed many farm-to-market roads, hampering cattle movement to auction centers in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
“The wet weather put a stop to spring field work so many backgrounders and feeders were on hand at sale barns will full pockets and positive attitudes as they jockeyed for the limited supply of feeder cattle on offer,” according to Agricultural Market Service reporters. “Coupled with a higher fed cattle market for the past two weeks buyers were eager to buy replacement stock to fill empty pen space.”
The bulk of fed cattle traded in a flurry of activity Wednesday, jumping $7 to $9 per cwt higher. Southern cattle traded at 142 to $146, and the Northern cattle traded at $145 to $147 per cwt. Dressed cattle traded at $230 to $232 in the North, $10 to $15 per cwt higher.
“Many feedyards didn’t dare price cattle to a packer for fear they would leave money on the table,” AMS reporters said. “Most tried to wait until they noticed a practical top for the trading day before they pulled the trigger to sell cattle.”
Choice beef cutout values traded $16 higher at $235.58, with Select $10 higher at $216.14.