National slaughter, feeder and stocker cattle markets

Every weight and class of feeders is fully entrenched into all-time record highs as price levels defy gravity and mock anyone expecting a correction when turn-out dates came and went and the weather cleared up.

Cattle prices in dollars per hundredweight (cwt.) except some replacement animals per pair or head as indicated.

NATIONAL SLAUGHTER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

Oklahoma City-Des Moines

May 2

Compared to April 25: South Plains direct trades on a live basis up $1 from the previous week. No dressed cattle available at time of report. Boxed beef prices May 2 averaged $223.75 down $3.49 from April 25. The Choice/Select spread is $10.98. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through the morning of May 2 totaled about 3,075. The previous week’s total head count was 82,235 head.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-65 percent Choice, 1100-1400 lbs. $146.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls mostly steady to $2 higher. Packer demand remains good.

USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value May 2 was $197.78 up $2.68 from April 25.

NATIONAL FEEDER AND STOCKER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

May 2

This week Last week Last year

224,200 264,100 289,300

Compared to April 25: Feeder and stocker cattle sold $2-5 higher with instances from $8-10 higher throughout the United States. Some of the sharpest advances were noted on heavy feeders weighing over 800 lbs. in response to sharp gains seen this week on the CME cattle futures, following the April 25 bullish cattle-on-feed report. Every weight and class of feeders is fully entrenched into all-time record highs as price levels defy gravity and mock anyone expecting a correction when turn-out dates came and went and the weather cleared-up. Early-week auction markets did not realize the full increase of the market and direct trade areas saw sellers raise their asking prices which slowed late trade volume.

The stars continue to line up for the feeder market including tight supplies, good demand (including the continued expansion of foreign customers) and affordable inputs.

The clouds also appear to be lining up for the feeder market as spring rains have mostly fallen on crop ground and most major grazing areas remain dry, especially west of the Rockies where most pastures won’t support grazing. Enough moisture has been seen through the bulk of the Plains to get grass started, but wind has prevailed and high temperatures are already on the way. Every level of cattle producer is currently finding big dividends which are also helping to keep demand inflated for calf and yearling markets. Empty pens continue to be backfilled by commercial feedlots who need a steady supply, but also by farmer-feeders who need to feed-up last year’s on-farm storage.

In many cases, backgrounders are able to reach full-term profits with only a few weeks of ownership and modest weight gains. This keeps them going back to the well after the sale of each group of cattle put together. Mitchell, S.D., saw a load of fancy backgrounded yearling steers weighing 948 lbs. sell for $172.50. Steer calves weighing under 600 lbs. rarely yield less than $2 per lb. unless they have a hole in them somewhere.

Still, these most recent record price levels sound strange to the ear and many of the industry members shake their head in disbelief and can’t help but think it’s an aberration. On the other hand, buyers that are trying to assemble numbers and/or fill orders have a full understanding of current conditions. Fed cattle trade broke loose Friday afternoon with Southern Plains feedyards selling steady to $1 higher at $146. The week’s reported auction volume included 49 percent over 600 lbs. and 41 percent heifers.

AUCTIONS

This week Last week Last year

161,500 174,200 193,500

WASHINGTON 2,100. 65 pct over 600 lbs. 51 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $209.43; 650-700 lbs. $205; half load 855 lbs. $159. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 600-650 lbs. $189.34; 800-850 lbs. $157.40.

DIRECT

This week Last week Last year

59,100 49,800 67,900

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 3,400. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 August 275 lbs. $203 del; 300 lbs. $192 del; September 275 lbs. $213 del; 300 lbs. $210 del; 325 lbs. $200 del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 6700. 32 pct over 600 lbs. 34 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery FOB Price 800-850 lbs. $170 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price 550-600 lbs. $198 for November Oregon; 600-700 lbs. $181-193 calves for October-December Idaho-Oregon-Washington; 700-750 lbs. $174 calves for December Idaho; 800 lbs. $168 calves for December Idaho. Holsteins: Large 2-3 Current Delivery FOB Price 350 lbs. $145-155 Washington. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery FOB Price 800 lbs. $165-167 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price 450-500 lbs. $202.50 for November-December Oregon; 550-600 lbs. $183-184 for October-November Washington-Oregon; 600-650 lbs. $176-183 calves for November-December Idaho-Oregon; 900-950 lbs. $167.50 for August Oregon.

NORTHWEST DIRECT CATTLE

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

May 2

This week Last week Last year

6,650 2,450 2,600

Compared to April 25: Stocker and feeder cattle $5-6 higher due in part to a higher CME market May 1. Trade moderate as most interests decided to contract calves for fall. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 66 percent steers and 34 percent heifers. Near 32 percent of the supply weighed over 600 lbs. Prices are FOB weighing point with a 1-4 percent shrink or equivalent and with a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 3-7 cent slide on yearlings.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivery FOB Price: 800-850 lbs. $170 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price: 550-600 lbs. $198 for November Oregon; 600-700 lbs. $181-193 calves for October-December Idaho-Oregon-Washington; 700-750 lbs. $174 calves for December Idaho; 800 lbs. $168 calves for December Idaho.

Feeder Holstein Steers: Large 2-3: Current Delivery FOB Price: 350 lbs. $145-155 Washington.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivery FOB Price: 800 lbs. $165-167 Idaho. Future Delivery FOB Price: 450-500 lbs. $202.50 for November-December Oregon; 550-600 lbs. $183-184 for October-November Washington-Oregon; 600-650 lbs. $176-183 calves for November-December Idaho-Oregon; 900-950 lbs. $167.50 for August Oregon.



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