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National feeder and stocker cattle report

Calving has been challenging for a wide area of producers this spring with temperature fluctuations and excessive moisture being reported.

Published on April 20, 2018 1:43PM



(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

April 20

This week Last week 2017

246,000 277,300 265,400

Compared to April 13: Feeder steers and heifers sold steady to 4.00 higher in the North and South Plains while the Southeast sold 3.00 to 6.00 higher.

The North Plains region is starting to dig out from the blizzard over last weekend. Some main transmission lines left many producers without power for days as remnants of the winter storm stretched from Montana through Minnesota, encompassing a vast area that would have just started their calving seasons.

Many Northern-tiered states are content to start their calving seasons later as they are accustomed to having a severe winter blast in the month of March. Occasionally April weather wreaks havoc and brings everyone back to reality and Mother Nature shows who is still in control.

Calving has been challenging for a wide area of producers this spring with temperature fluctuations and excessive moisture being reported. Pens in South Dakota and Nebraska have been reported to be in muddy conditions for the last several weeks and this one was no different. With the extra slogging around the pen a fed steer must do, it just burns up mega-calories that normally goes into gain.

Live Cattle futures are trying to rally back after a continual slide through the month of March.

However, on Thursday of this week, futures were weak despite higher negotiated cash trade. Fed cattle in the Southern Plains sold 2.00 to 4.00 higher at 121.00 to 122.00.

Analysts are expecting the fed cattle prices to have downward pressure in the coming months as calf-feds make their way to the packing plant. The winter wheat pasture grazing programs that backgrounders had relied on for years was virtually nonexistent due to drought in the Southern Plains this year. The marketing pattern of those cattle has yet to be determined; however, those cattle probably were on a finishing ration sooner than normal due to lower cost feed ingredients.

With all those factors to take into consideration the Southern Plains feedlots will probably see a rise in marketings in the next month or so. Calf prices are still lofty in the country this week.

On Monday at the Russell Livestock Market in Russell Iowa, a package of 708 lb steers sold at 166.50.

On Tuesday at Lolli Brothers Livestock in Macon, Mo., three small packages that combined to make a half load weighing 702-706 lbs sold for a weighted average of 170.73. The bigger brothers there weighing 758 lbs sold at 158.50.

On Wednesday at Green City Livestock Auction in Green City, Mo., a package of 560 lb thin steers sold at 199.00, while the St Joseph, Mo., Stockyards sold a half load of 815 lb steers at 154.00.

On Thursday at Pratt Livestock in Pratt, Kan., a half load of 751 lb steers brought 152.00, while a load of 861 lb steers at Valentine Livestock in Valentine Neb., sold at 142.25.

Top quality heifers are still in demand with breeding season getting closer every day. On Monday at Tri-State Livestock in McCook, Neb., a load of 736 lb replacement heifers sold at 150.50.

On Thursday in Valentine Neb., a short load of 517 lb heifers sold at 187.00 while another short load of their thinner, bigger sisters weighing 685 lb sold at 157.25.

The Cattle-on-Feed for April 1 released today were all within industry guesses and would be viewed as a neutral report. On Feed reported at 107 percent of a year ago; Placements at 91 percent and Marketings at 96 percent.

Auction volume this week included 53 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.

National Slaughter

Cattle Summary

April 20

Slaughter cattle traded mostly 3.00-4.00 higher for live in Texas and Kansas while Nebraska was mostly steady live, dressed trades where up to 5.00 higher. Boxed Beef prices as of Friday at afternoon averaged 206.06 down 0.20 from last Friday. The Choice/Select spread is 11.85.

Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Friday afternoon totaled 99,346 head. Last week’s total head count was 55,023.

Midwest Direct Markets:

Live Basis: Steers and Heifers: 120.00-122.00.

Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: 190.00-195.00.

South Plains Direct Markets:

Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 120.00-122.00.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices):

Slaughter cows 2.00-5.00 lower, slaughter bulls sold steady to 3.00 lower. Packer demand moderate to good. Cutter Cow Carcass Cut-Out Value on Friday 172.47.

Northwest Weighted

Direct Feeder Cattle

April 20

This week Last week 2017

1,532 1,352 3,150

Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers had no FOB current trades to compare. The feeder supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs and 47 percent heifers. Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weighting points with 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 4-12 cent slide on yearlings from base weights. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers Medium and Large 1:

Head Wt Range Avg Wt Price Range Avg Price Delivery

175 Head: Avg Wt 775 lbs; Avg Price 138.00; Current Del

292 Head: Avg Wt 822 lbs; Avg Price 140.18; Current Del

220 Head: Avg Wt 868 lbs; Avg Price 129.45; Current Del

120 Head: Avg Wt 900 lbs; Avg Price 129.00; Current Del

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1:

165 Head: Avg Wt 750 lbs; Avg Price 127.21; Current Del

440 Head: Avg Wt 820 lbs; Avg Price 127.18; Current Del

120 Head: Avg Wt 850 lbs; Avg Price 124.00; Current Del


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