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


(Federal-State Market News)

Oklahoma City-Des Moines

Jan. 24

Compared to Jan. 17: Slaughter cattle trade posted new record highs again this week with live cattle in the South Plains trading $5-6 higher. Dressed basis steers and heifers in Nebraska were up an astonishing $11 to $13. Boxed beef prices Jan. 24 morning averaged $237.75 up $7.24. The Choice/Select spread is at $1.05. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Jan. 24 totaled about 120,128 head. The previous week’s total head count was 113,135 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-80 Percent Choice, 1200-1400 lbs. $148-150.50 Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers: $239-241 mostly $240.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-65 percent Choice, 1100-1400 lbs. $147-148

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows steady to $1 higher with exception of Southeast region selling $3-4 lower. Slaughter bulls sold steady to firm. USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Jan. 24 was $174.78 up $.61 from Jan. 17.


(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Jan. 24

This week Last week Last year

393,000 597,900 255,100

Compared to Jan. 17: Feeder cattle and calves weighing over 600 lbs. sold steady to $2 lower as price levels for feeding-type cattle have started to level off following the wild run-up to start the year. Lightweight calves were not yet ready to give up the bull market and sold firm to $4 higher.

Auction receipts have been heavy the past two weeks but should lighten at a fast enough pace to keep price levels from plunging off record highs.

The Oklahoma National Stockyards had 15,000 head on Jan. 20, while Joplin Regional Stockyards boasted over 14,000. Many other Midwestern salebarns were also testing the limits of their pen space; however, most yearlings and large reputation calf strings are now gone and the number of pee-wee calves on offer was extremely large for this time of year. Also, a large percentage of feeder sales in the Southern Plains were off wheat, which all spells that offerings will be slim pickings this spring.

The Burwell, Neb., Livestock Market had 444 head of top quality 5 weight steers Jan. 17 that averaged 555 lbs. at $224.50. On Jan. 23, Ogallala, Neb., sold two loads of fancy 702 lb. steers at $190. Fed cattle markets made monstrous gains again this week with feedlots selling short showlists $5-7 higher from $147-150.

The direct slaughter cattle market has actually gained $17-20 since right before Christmas when prices were sitting near $130, a record high at the time. Northern dressed steer and heifer markets have gained $33 in that time to end this past week at $240. Finished cattle markets have obtained this remarkable feat with very little trading leverage by the feeding industry.

Total 2013 sales volume in the 5 Area cattle feeding region was only 24.1 percent by negotiated cash, while the balance was some sort of formula or contract method. Texas feedlots haggled on just over 6 percent of their total sales, a figure that has fell by more than 40 percentage points in the last eight years. Sunflower state feeders sold 21 percent on a negotiated cash market last year while Nebraska traded 36.4 on the spot market and Iowa farmer-feeders drove the hardest bargain at 54.6 percent of total volume.

Boxed beef cut-out values established their new pinnacle on Jan. 22 afternoon with Choice boxes closing at $240.05 and packers reportedly still in the black. Cattle feeders are finally making some good money on their closeouts, which is imperative for backgrounders and cow/calf producers to continue being successful. When today’s finished cattle were purchased as feeders, it was estimated that it would take a record-breaking market of $130 for them to breakeven. With feed costs plunging since harvest many of the week’s closeouts are showing $250-300 per head profits, not taking into account risk management expense.

The cattle-on-feed report could be construed as slightly bearish with Jan. 1 inventories 94.6 percent of the same time last year, while placements were 1 percent more than a year ago and marketings were 99.5 percent of 2013. The week’s reported auction volume included 52 percent over 600 lbs. and 39 percent heifers.


This week Last week Last year

328,100 363,700 203,500

WASHINGTON 1,400. 87 pct. over 600 lbs. 60 pct. heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 800-850 lbs. $162; 850-900 lbs. $163.37. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 650-700 lbs. $165.62; 750-800 lbs. $153.30; 800-850 lbs. $155.58.


This week Last week Last year

57,300 97,600 44,700

SOUTHWEST (Arizona-California-Nevada) 2400. No cattle over 600 lbs. No heifers. Holsteins: Large 3 Current 300 lbs. $167 del.; Jun 300 lbs. $179 del.; 325 lbs. $169 del.

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 2200. 71 pct. over 600 lbs. 44 pct. heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery FOB Price 600-700 lbs. $162-168 Washington; 800-850 lbs. $157-162 Washington-Idaho. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery FOB Price 550-600 lbs. $157-158 Idaho; 800-850 lbs. $153-158 Washington-Idaho. Replacement Heifers: Current Delivery FOB Price Medium and Large 1-2 550-600 lbs. $179 Idaho.


(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Jan. 24

This week Last week Last year

2,150 2,425 2,660

Compared to Jan. 17: Stocker and feeder cattle steady in a light test. Most trading took place before the big upswing on the Slaughter market on Wednesday. Trade slow this week. A fire idling one of the largest NW meatpackers this week has slowed the movement of market ready slaughter cattle out of the feedlots. Demand remains good. The feeder supply included 56 percent steers and 44 percent heifers. Near 71 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 Delivery FOB Price: 600-700 lbs. $162-168 Washington; 800-850 lbs. $157-162 Washington-Idaho.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current Delivery FOB Price: 550-600 lbs. $157-158 Idaho; 800-850 lbs. $153-158 Washington-Idaho.

Replacement Heifers: Current Delivery FOB Price: Medium and Large 1-2: 550-600 lbs. $179 Idaho.

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