Compared to last week, calves are starting to dominate receipts as prices this week are very uneven, trading in wide price trends in all areas with demand fairly inconsistent. Going into Halloween the cattle markets pulled a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine as did Live and Feeder cattle futures this week. Calves traded from steady to 5.00 higher to 5.00 lower with instances ranging from 10.00 lower to 10.00 higher depending in many cases on location and quality. In the Southwest Plains especially in Oklahoma many calves saw some of the higher price trends for calves as much needed rain fell giving a boost for calves suitable for wheat.
The availability of true yearling feeders continue to grow progressively lighter as prices sold mostly steady to firm with instances 3.00 higher to 3.00 lower with declines mostly early week. While price levels remain good and consistent for green-conditioned yearlings and strings of fancy and long timed weaned calves, the other side of the coin is against small consignments of mixed quality-color and unweaned/fleshy bawling calves that sell far behind the former. Value can be added by pre-conditioning with full vaccination program and weaning them for at least 45 days. Feeder cattle prices have risen sharply over the last couple of weeks after a perceived low, but feeder cattle prices still remain at levels that will struggle to be profitable when placed on feed.
Last Friday cattle futures showed signs of a correction as a torrid two week 20.00 rally in the fed cattle market met some resistance. The resistance continued into Monday and Tuesday as cattle futures had sharp losses. The market is still trying to find some steadiness and composure after and enormous fall then subsequent rebound. There is uneasiness due to large quantities of meat protein on hand found in last week’s Cold Storage Report as this market tries to find out what it can or can’t support. Even though fed cattle prices were higher last week at 138.00, feedlots had optimism for higher trade. Packers came out early to shop on Tuesday of this week at steady money with last week at 138.00 which was encouraging after a sharply lower futures board on Monday and Tuesday. Cattle futures rebounded on Wednesday with limit higher gains giving cattle market psychology a boost.
Boxed-beef values continue to march higher receiving strong gains on Wednesday with Choice closing 2.19 cents higher at 220.14 its highest close in over a month. Choice Boxed-beef closed .89 cents lower at 220.04 on Friday compared to last Friday’s close at 217.17. Harvest continues to move briskly as corn harvest is now 75 percent completed; 7 percent above the 5-year average. Sorghum is 71 percent completed and soybeans at 87 percent harvested. Auction volume included 38 percent over 600 lbs and 37 percent heifers.