Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle sold steady to 3.00 higher with steer and heifer calves trading steady to instances 5.00 higher on a light test throughout the Midwest. Demand was good for all classes of feeder cattle, with the possible exception of fleshy/short weaned steer calves weighing between 600- 700 lbs. In the Southeast feeder calves traded unevenly steady. Direct trade was steady to 4.00 higher mainly in Texas. There were few signs of market pressure for feeder cattle as last week’s lower fed cattle prices with packers short bought status failing to produce leverage as trade was mostly 3.00 lower last Friday at 152.00-153.00 in Nebraska and with cattle futures also breaking hard to end last week.
Feeder cattle continue to hold up remarkably well despite these bearish fundamentals with many farmer/feeders in the market and no shortage of grass out in the country. At the Valentine, NE Livestock Market on Thursday over 200 head of value added steers averaging 743 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 265.33 and near 400 head of top quality 900-950 lb steers averaging 920 lbs sold with a weighted price of 222.75.
Boxed-beef values have strengthened this week with the 4th of July just around the corner this should have retailers looking to fill shelves with Father’s Day this weekend hopefully will be good test for beef demand. Will cut-out values hold up into the summer months of July and August is a concern as usually beef demand has a tendency to be lackluster during this time period? Packers continue to keep slaughter levels small to help stabilize cut-out values and increase their margins rather than dip into the red to bid higher on slaughter cattle.
Fed cattle prices on Friday traded mostly at 150.00 on live prices 3.00 lower than last week, dressed prices in Nebraska at 240.00, 4.00 lower than last week. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report was mostly neutral with Cattle on Feed for June 1st at 101 percent; Placed in May at 90 percent; Marketing’s for May at 92 percent. May replacements were smaller than expected. Cut-out values have rebounded this week closing above the 250.00 level on Friday closing .49 cents higher at 251.32 for Choice product after closing last Friday at 245.72. On May 19th the Choice product closed at 265.59 as prices rose quickly heading into Memorial Weekend, but these kinds of markets demonstrate that when prices rise too quickly and go too high consumers will back away.
Tropical Storm Bill is adding much unwanted heavy rains to already saturated fields from east Texas up through the Ohio River Valley. Corn is likely looking at acres that will be lost or limited in production which has supported corn and soybean prices this week. Monday’s progress report had corn 91 percent emerged and 73 percent rated good to excellent. Soybeans roughly have around 11 million acres left to be panted with around 7 million of those acres in states that are very wet. Auction volume was 53 percent over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.