Compared to last week, the calf market this period experienced wide price ranges and trends in all reporting regions, lightweight feeders under 500 lbs selling mostly 5.00-15.00 higher and calves over 500 lbs and yearlings trading fully steady to 5.00 higher with instances 10.00 higher. Last week’s sharply higher fed and feeder cattle markets and sharply higher futures caused feeder prices to come out of the gate with compelling buying interest. The fed cattle market has rallied near 20.00 over the last two weeks, after declining over 30.00 since Mid-August

. Feedlot managers have reclaimed a considerable leverage and an overall positive attitude. This has also spilled over into the feeder cattle markets the last two weeks. Many large strings of top quality calves are starting to move in the Northern Plains as on Tuesday in Philip, SD at the Philip Livestock Auction sold over 10,000 head with over 2200 head of 500-550 lb calves averaging 527 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 235.50. At the Mobridge Livestock Exchange in Mobridge, SD sold over 6200 head on Tuesday with near 900 head of 500-550 lb steers calves averaging 240.13. In Ogallala, NE on Thursday sold over 5300 head with over 700 head of 500-550 lb steer calves selling with a weighted average price of 248.04 and 231 head of fancy steer calves selling at 302.50.

CME Live Cattle futures are back to trading at Mid- September levels, prior to the big break in the market. It seems what use to take months for markets to move is now taking days and weeks, hopefully this is not going to be the new norm as this market is trying to find its course. Optimism also remains guarded as the cattle markets continue higher. Futures are also finding renewed buying support. Despite higher futures prices and cattle producers continue to struggle to reach breakeven levels. This still could create some long term tension and volatility. Every rocket eventually reaches its optimum elevation then levels out; the question remains when will this market level out?

Boxed-beef values have finally broken out to the upside with Choice cut-outs gaining over 14.00 since October 9th. Choice boxed-beef took a break on Friday and closed down .30 cents at 217.17 compared to last Friday’s close at 211.69.

On Thursday the Cold Storage Report was released and pretty much revealed that we have a lot of meat protein on hand. Total red meat in freezers was up 2 percent from last month and up 24 percent from last year. Total red meat is a record high for the month of September at neat 1.2 billion lbs. Total lbs of beef in cold storage were up 6 percent from last month and 31 percent higher than last year at a little over 496 million lbs which is also a record high for the month of September. Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from last month and up 19 percent from last year at a little over 656 million lbs also a record high for the month of September.

Cattle on Feed report was released Friday afternoon with all categories coming in at trade expectations. Cattle on feed came in at 102 percent, Placements at 96 percent and Marketings at 98 percent. Corn harvest is now 59 percent completed, with soybeans 77 percent completed. Auction volume included 39 percent over 600 lbs and 36 percent heifers.