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

NORTHWEST DIRECT CATTLE

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Nov. 30

This week Last week Last year

1,900 Holiday 1,000

No trends due to the Thanksgiving holiday last week and market not reported. Trade slow with light to moderate demand. The feeder supply included 61 percent steers and 39 percent heifers. Near 79 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 Price: 500-550 lbs. $142-143 Washington; 650-700 lbs. $136 Washington; 750-800 lbs. $131-140 Idaho.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Price: 600-650 lbs. $127 Washington; 700-800 lbs. $125-134 Idaho.

NATIONAL FEEDER AND STOCKER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Nov. 30

This week Last week Last year

313,600 Holiday 324,500

Compared to two weeks ago, feeder cattle and calves sold firm to $5 higher on weights over 500 lbs. with lighter-weight calves very erratic and ranging as much as $10 in either direction. The best demand was shown for cattle suitable for the feedlot, following the holiday shortened week. Major commercial cattle feeders were active bidders as they look to fill available pen space before the end of the year. At the Huss Platte Valley Auction in Kearney, Neb., on Nov. 28 a fancy string of F-1 Hereford-Angus cross steers weighing 850 lbs. brought $152.25. Offerings are expected to tighten significantly in the near future as many of the producers who normally sell later in the season have already marketed their stock. But, receipts were surprisingly heavy this past week as favorable weather and continued dry conditions pulled cattle to town.

The Joplin Regional Stockyards moved over 13,700 head of cattle through their ring this week and sold another 5,700 head through video marketing to help the state of Missouri post its heaviest week since the first full week of January, with over 50,000 head reported. Still, nationwide auction receipts were more than 7 percent lighter than the same week a year ago - a gap that will more than likely progressively widen over the next several months.

As stated, the market for pee-wee calves under 500 lbs. was extremely volatile as areas (even within the Southeast) were split between backgrounders looking to keep their dollars-per-head down and those that fear they won't have enough feed and/or water to hold them through the winter.

Farther north, cattlemen are certain that water is our most precious natural resource as dry stock ponds represent the only cattle drinking water for most pastures and many backgrounding lots.

The lack of moisture in the central portion of the United States is beyond serious, but West Coast producers are receiving much needed rain and high elevation snow. Current stocker and replacement cattle purchases at every level (from a 300 lb calf to an older bred cow) probably have the widest range of expected return than any time in history. Even some moderate measurements of moisture should cause prices to soar past record levels, while continued dry conditions will limit spring grazing prospects and cause further sell-off of breeding stock. Cattle and beef prices are presently very near year ago levels, while cash corn is $1.75/bushel higher.

This week's reported auction volume had 41 percent over 600 lbs. and 40 percent heifers.

AUCTIONS

This week Last week Last year

252,400 Holiday 271,700

WASHINGTON 500. 44 pct over 600 lbs. 37 pct heifers. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 600-650 lbs. $122.18.

DIRECT

This week Last week Last year

50,200 Holiday 40,200

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) There were no direct sales reported.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 1,900. 79 pct over 600 lbs. 39 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current FOB 500-550 lbs. $142-143 Washington; 650-700 lbs. $ 136 Washington; 750-800 lbs. $131-140 Idaho. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current FOB 600-650 lbs. $127 Washington; 700-800 lbs. $125-134 Idaho.

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