Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle sold 5.00-15.00 higher with highest advances mostly early in the week as auctions first part of the week were catching up with major advances from middle of last week. Direct sales were mostly 3.00-10.00 higher. Feeder calves traded 10.00-20.00 higher with instances 25.00-30.00 higher. The cattle complex has experienced a good recovery from the lows made the first of the month. Feeder prices had finally fallen to a point where replacing feeder cattle became attractive to buyers.
Many buyers over the last several weeks have been on the sidelines waiting to see when and where this collapse would end. The recovery this week has come at a time when many cow-calf producers are getting ready to sell their calf crop. From the middle of last week and this week many strings of calves weighing 500- 700 lbs were again bringing well over 2.00/lb mark as demand improved greatly. Many steer calves weighing 500-550 lbs are now selling in a range from 220.00- 240.00 throughout the Southern and Northern Plains. All participants in the cattle industry are leery but no one wants to be caught with empty pens or pastures when profit opportunities appear. After a sharp break in the cattle complex and now that the dust is settling, one positive take is often when the market breaks sharply you can also recover the same way as one extreme leads to another.
Cattle futures on Friday closed with sharp triple-digit gains to end the week after a pull back on Thursday. This is a market that has had much price volatility over the last six weeks with Live Cattle prices falling mostly 20.00-25.00 since the first week of September has been an extreme. Fed cattle markets last week traded much higher with live sales ranging from 5.00-11.00 higher and dressed sales 8.00-11.00 higher helping to propel feeder cattle market higher. The fed cattle market may have moved through the biggest of heavy cattle but the market still has some cleaning up to do. Packers still have ample front end supplies, but keeping slaughter levels up will help to improve the situation and regain currentness.
Boxed-beef has finally found its footing and has followed cattle futures and fed cattle prices higher with good gains this week. Retailers are starting to be aggressive in looking for beef and anticipating more beef features after scrambling up some bargain prices. Lower retail prices for beef items should help stimulate domestic beef demand. Choice Boxed-beef closed .47 cents higher on Friday at 211.69 compared to last Friday’s close at 203.00.
Corn harvest is 42 percent completed, compared to 27 percent last week. Soybean harvest continues to barrel along with 62 percent harvested compared to 42 percent last week. Winter wheat planting is 64 percent completed compared to 49 percent last week. Auction volume included 40 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 38 percent heifers.