AND STOCKER CATTLE
(Federal-State Market News)
St. Joseph, Mo.
This Week Last Week Last Year
433,900 325,600 377,300
Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold mostly steady to 4.00 higher. The supply of feeders this week was heavy at auctions with the 360,400 head being the second largest auction receipt volume this year, behind week ending Jan. 13 by only 6100 head.
Discounts continue to be applied to calves with short or no weaning programs, but they are not nearly as severe as what was being applied a month ago.
Colder weather is helping to straighten these calves out and make them a little less risky to own. Demand for light weight calves in Montana was reduced caused by dry conditions on the west coast.
Transportation issues in the Northern Plains tightened demand late in the week due to limited truck availability.
It’s farming time in the North Plains and farmers need those trucks hooked to their grain trailers now. Farmer feeders are still working on corn harvest in the North Plains, which is going slow as corn is wet and must be dried. This is keeping some of these buyers out of the market on calves yet as they simply don’t have the time to take on a bawling calf. Fighting the weather and the health risk that comes with placing them in a muddy, sloppy yard is not a proposition they want to get into. Yard conditions in the Dakotas remain less than ideal as rains, and snow now have remained frequent through the fall.
News reports of propane rationing in the Upper Midwest and Eastern
Corn Belt could delay the completion of harvest if corn is still in the field and above 20 percent moisture. There are still loads of yearlings available this time of year and they have been met with very good demand.
Being able to hedge off the April CME Live Cattle contract is huge considering the near 8.00 premium to the June Contract. All contracts in the CME Cattle Complex have risen slowly since the recent lows around the 10th of September. Since then, the December Live Cattle contract is around $20.00 higher, and the January Feeder Cattle contract is almost $19.00 higher.
Cash fed cattle prices have now eclipsed “pre-fire” levels for a couple weeks now, with feeder margins back on the positive side. Compared to last week, Southern Plains live sales were reported at 114.00 to 115.00 and Northern Plains dressed sales were reported at 181.00 to 182.00.
Attractive boxed-beef values and large packer margins continue to help support higher fed cattle prices, also giving great incentives for packers to push capacity levels to take advantage of their margins.
Boxed-beef cutouts continue to surge higher as beef demand remains very good with beef, especially choice product being featured in retail ads consistently even as Thanksgiving approaches. For the week, the Choice cutout closed 5.92 higher at 239.12, while Select was 5.75 higher at 213.26; putting the Choice-Select spread at 25.86. The Choice cutout is now around 2.50 shy of the most recent high of 241.74 on Aug. 21.
Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection estimated at 651K for the week, 7K less than last week and 2K more than a year ago.
The September Restaurant Performance Index reported late last week posted an increase from the previous month at 100.4, down 0.3 percent from the previous month. The Expectations Index of the RPI, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators, stood at 101.3 in September — up slightly from a level of 101.2 in August. The forward-looking component of the RPI trended sideways in recent months, as restaurant operators remain uncertain about sales growth and the overall economy. Last month, Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index was reported at 51.4, 1.3 percentage points higher than September. Although still weak, October’s level is the highest reading since June of this year. It also marked the third time in the past four months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.
Auction volume this week included 37 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.
Northwest Weighted Average Direct Feeder Cattle
Weekly Summary WA-OR-ID-UT
This Week Last Week Last Year
1,870 964 495
Compared to last week: Feeder steers and heifers not well tested but a higher undertone noted. Demand good. Supply consisted of 96 percent over 600 lbs. and 38 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
120 Head: 850 lbs; 147.61 Current FOB
415 Head: 910 lbs; 142.07 Current FOB
150 Head: 650 lbs; 155.00 Current Del
75 Head: 700 lbs; 156.00 Current Del
185 Head: 825 lbs; 153.00 Current Del
Feeder Steers Medium and Large 1-2
70 Head: 570 lbs; 150.00 Current Del
150 Head: 670 lbs; 148.00 Current Del
Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1
180 Head: 825 lbs; 135.65 Current FOB
300 Head: 950 133.08 133.08 Current FOB
75 Head: 685 lbs; 146.00 Current Del
150 Head: 700 lbs; 144.00 Nov-Dec Del