The Cattle on Feed report for October 1 came in very close to the trade estimates. The on-feed number according to USDA was 100.6 percent of a year earlier. The trade estimate was at 100.3 percent. Placed on feed during September at 104.7 percent compares with a trade estimate of 105.5 percent of a year earlier. The number of fed cattle marketed at 96.4 percent compares with a trade estimate of 97.8 percent of 12 months earlier.

The cattle placed on feed during September were lighter in weight than a year earlier. The number placed on feed weighing less than 600 pounds was up 10.1 percent, the number placed on feed weighing 600-699 pounds was up 8.4 percent, the number placed on feed weighing 700-799 pounds was up 9.6 percent, but the number placed on feed weighing over 800 pounds was down 2.8 percent from 2008. The number of cattle on feed October 1 was above a year earlier for the first time since April 2008.

Fed cattle marketings are expected to continue below a year earlier for the remainder of 2009.

The number of steers and steer calves on feed October 1 was down 1.5 percent from a year earlier, and the number of heifers was up 4.3 percent. This adds evidence to the belief that the number of beef cows on farms January 1, 2010, will be down from a year earlier.

Feeder steer prices at Oklahoma City this week were up $1-3 per cwt. A limited number of feeder heifers were up $1-2 from a week earlier. The prices for steer and heifer calves were steady with seven days earlier.

The prices for medium- and large-frame Number One steers at Oklahoma City this week were: 400-500 pounds $107-122 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $98-113.50 per cwt, 600-700-pound calves $87-97 per cwt, 600-700-pound yearlings $95.75-100.75 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $93-98.75 per cwt, and 800-1,000 pounds $86-94.50 per cwt.

Wholesale beef prices this Friday morning showed Choice beef at $138.54 per cwt, up $2.70 per cwt from last Friday. Select beef at $130.40 per cwt was down $2.25 per cwt from a week earlier.

The weighted average live steer price for the week through Thursday for the five-market area was $84.59 per cwt, up $3.38 per cwt from seven days earlier. The weighted average negotiated carcass price through Thursday for the five-market area was $131.62 per cwt, up $6.43 per cwt from a week earlier.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 646 thousand head, up 0.2 percent from a year earlier.

Source: Grimes & Plain, University of Missouri - Columbia