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

March 30

Compared to the previous week: Slaughter cattle sold $1 lower, dressed sales in Nebraska $1-2 lower. Boxed beef prices declining despite the lighter slaughter rates.

Boxed beef prices March 30 averaged $183.48 down $3.51 from March 23. The Choice/Select spread is at $.65. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through the afternoon of March 30 totaled about 119,113 head. The previous week's total head count was 138,686.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-80 Percent Choice, 1200-1400 lbs. $126-127 Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: mostly $202

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-65 percent Choice, 1100-1400 lbs. $125, few $125.50

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows mostly steady. Slaughter bulls steady, except Oklahoma $2-4 higher.

USDA's Cutter cow carcass cut-out value March 30 was $169.23 down $2.20 from March 23.

NATIONAL FEEDER AND

STOCKER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

March 30

This week Last week Last year

279,500 239,800 345,300

Compared to last week, feeder and stocker cattle trends across the nation were largely steady to $4 higher. However distinct exceptions were on heavy yearling feeders weighing over 850 lbs., which were steady to $3 lower and lightweight stocker calves near the major grazing regions of the Central U.S. which sold from $4-8 higher and instances as much as $12 higher, especially on heifers. Granted, much of this business was done early and before the three sharply lower CME cattle futures trading sessions ended the week and long before the USDA's estimated lower-than-expected quarterly stocks rallied the grain market and the higher-than-expected prospective corn plantings was ignored by Chicago.

Farmers are now expected to plant 95.9 million acres of corn, which is 1.9 million more acres than the previous estimate, 1.2 million more than the average of analysts' guesses and the highest acreage level of corn planted since 1937. Nevertheless, CBOT May corn contracts closed up the 40 cent limit on March 30 at $6.44/bu as the report also included quarterly corn stockpiles of only 6.01 billion bushels, which was 8 percent less than the same time last year.

Trading was active on March 27 at the Ozarks Regional Stockyard in West Plains, Mo., which is only slightly more than a stone's throw from Arkansas. A 121-head string of 604 lb. black-hided steers with an attractively empty or gaunt weighing condition received the premium price of $187. Two loads of fancy Red Angus steers were also featured, averaging 806 lbs. at $152.75 and at least $3-4 cwt freight from the nearest major feedyard. Auction receipts were respectable this week but were still more than 10 percent lighter than a year ago and cash feeder cattle buyers know that offerings will soon dry up. Fat cattle sold mostly $1 lower on March 28 and March 29 at mostly $125 in the Southern Plains and $202 dressed up North. Ground beef processors continue to struggle with eroded supplies of available slaughter cows following the massive selloff over the last several years.

Now, the frenzy over the use of lean finely textured beef has thrown another hurdle in the packer's path with a moniker that will not be promoted in this market narrative. The use of lean finely textured beef helps hamburger blenders ensure the safety of the product and raises the leanness that consumers think they want. Now, that catch phrase is actually making beef's most affordable product more expensive and harder to safely produce without any benefits to the consumer. This week's reported auction volume included 50 percent over 600 lbs. and 44 percent heifers.

AUCTIONS

This week Last week Last year

196,400 208,200 218,500

WASHINGTON 1,900. 77 pct over 600 lbs. 59 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 500-550 lbs. $187; pkg 735 lbs. $140; 800-850 lbs. $138.01; 900-950 lbs. $132.81. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 550-600 lbs. $166.25; 600-650 lbs. $159.90; pkg 660 lbs. $155; 700-750 lbs. $140.45; 800-850 lbs. $132.60.

DIRECT

This week Last week Last year

27,600 26,000 70,700

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 900. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 July 325 lbs. $177.50.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 2,100. 74 pct over 600 lbs. 46 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current 850-900 lbs. $139 Oregon; 950 lbs. $133 Washington; October-November 600-650 lbs. $173.75 value added calves Idaho. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 October-November 600 lbs. $167.75 value added calves Idaho.

NORTHWEST DIRECT CATTLE

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

March 31

This week Last week Last year

2,100 5,800 7,650

Compared to last week, stocker cattle not tested this week. Feeder cattle weak in a light test. Trade slow with light demand as most feedlots in the trade area are full and have supplies coming in from their own growing yards. The feeder supply included 54 percent steers and 46 percent heifers. Near 74 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 3-6 cent slide on yearlings.

Steers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Prices: 850-900 lbs. $139 Oregon; 950 lbs. $133 Washington. Future Delivery FOB Prices: 600-650 lbs. $173.75 value added calves for October-November Idaho.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Future Delivery FOB Prices: 600 lbs. $167.75 value added calves for October-November Idaho.

Replacement Heifers (Per Head): 1-2: Current FOB Prices: 700-800 lbs. $1200-1225 Idaho.

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