Fed cattle markets continue to struggle with lackluster boxed beef holding fed cattle prices in check. Live and feeder cattle futures dropped late in the week along with boxed beef prices. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report is not likely to change the situation much. Placements were slightly higher than expected but so were marketings. The on-feed inventory for September 1 was close to pre-report expectations at 99 percent of last year’s level.

Most of the increase in placements was in the 800-plus pound weight category. Forage conditions in key summer stocker regions, such as the Oklahoma Osage country and Kansas Flint Hills were quite good and cattle came off later and heavier than in many years. There was also an increase in the lightest placement category, under 600 pounds, but that increase was entirely due to increases in Texas that were no doubt drought-induced movement of lightweight feeders.

Much of the state of Oklahoma continued to receive rain this past week further delaying wheat planting. Wheat planting is expected to jump sharply if and when field conditions improve and this will likely be followed by an increase in stocker cattle demand for winter grazing and a chance for modestly higher stocker prices in the next two to three weeks.

Source: Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist