Compared to last week, mid to late week feeder and stocker cattle were steady to 2.00 higher while earlier week sales were mostly steady to 2.00 lower. The trend finally moved up after the declines over the last several weeks. Usually in the Plains States this time of year, combines are moving through harvest at a pretty good clip. However, that is not happening at this time due to the late planting of crops, unseasonal cool summer extending the growing season, and wet and cloudy conditions all week has considerable hampered an already late harvest. According to Tuesday's NASS Crop Progress report, corn harvest is 22 percent behind the five year average and soybeans are near 35 percent behind the five year average. With the dreary conditions this week, farmer feeders are reluctant to take bawling calves as they are very aware that the crops will need their attention day and night when conditions are right for harvest. They will not have the time to doctor sick calves when combines and grain trucks are running nearly 24 hours a day. As soon as harvest nears the end, these buyers will be back in full force at the nearest auction house.

The wheat in the Southern Plains looks good for this time of year as rains have moved through the area at good times this fall. However, there are a few ranchers still wanting to get as much wheat planted as possible with intentions of grazing calves and putting on gain cheaper than they can in a feedyard. Forecasts for temperatures in the mid 60's and sunny this coming weekend in the Southern Plains will be a welcome sight. That's a far cry from the early winter (late fall) snowstorm that came across some of the North Plains states this week. Some good news in the fed cattle market this week as live sales in the Southern Plains were 1.50 to 2.00 higher at 83.00-84.00 and Northern Plains dressed sales were 2.00 higher at 127.00-128.00. Friday also broke the streak for cattle on feed inventory. or the first time in 18 months, cattle on feed was above the posted year ago number.

The cattle on feed number was 100.6 percent of a year ago, placements were 104.6 percent and marketings were 96.4 percent, respectively. This week’s reported
auction volume included 38 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.

Source: AMS/USDA, Lonnie Peetz