(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Dec. 14

This Week Last Week  Last Year
 321,000 385,000 284,400

Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 higher, with instances of market reporters quoting some weight categories up to 10.00 higher.

Feeder cattle auction receipts were diminished this week, however with one more full week left of auctions being open, Year-to-Date auction receipts on this report are the largest since 2011. Producers time to finish up their marketing needs for the year are waning as many auctions take off for two full weeks around the holidays.

Order buyers had an easier time of finding orders this week as the mud has started to firm up in areas that have had very muddy pens since the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Time is of the essence as feedyards and backgrounders will soon be reluctant to receive incoming cattle during the holidays; hoping the cowboys can take a break from doctoring calves around the Christmas and New Years.

The Feeder Cattle futures have found some footing this week after trading sideways to mostly lower for the past nine weeks. Cash cattle seem to be pulling the feeder market higher as 119.00 was paid in the Southern Plains last week.

This week, cash fed cattle trading occurred on Friday mid-day with Southern Plains called steady at 119.00. Early dressed sales in Nebraska sold 1.00 higher at 188.00. From the summer through now, packers have had a great run with margins running in the positive triple digits per head. Packers have a vested interest in moving through the pipeline every animal they can with positive margins and the way the holidays fall at the end of the year. With the Christmas and New Year's holidays on a Tuesday, tempered harvest schedules are expected to almost come to a screeching halt.

If realized, last week's 667K head slaughter would be the second largest weekly cattle harvest since January 2012. US Beef exports have been boisterous this year. January through October Year-to-Date beef exports were reported at 1.13 million metric tonnes, 9 percent higher than a year ago. The value of that product was reported at $6.92 billion, 17 percent above a year ago as demand for US product continues to improve as the year goes on.

For the week, the Choice cutout closed 3.33 lower at 210.96, while Select was 2.64 higher at 203.14. The Choice-Select spread narrowed on Friday to 7.82 after last week's spread was reported at 13.79. Auction volume this week included 46 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.

Northwest Weighted Average Direct Feeder Cattle

Nov. 14

Receipts: 1,558 Last Week: 0 Year Ago: 70

Compared to last week: No trade last week to compare to. Feedlots emptying their inventories a bit with the record slaughter harvests lately causing the packers to pay a bit more in the fat cattle negotiated trade.

Supply included 93 percent over 600 lbs and 40 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
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price  Delivery
  293    650-675     659    150.41-151.28     150.95   Current FOB   
   71      700       700       148.26         148.26   Current FOB   
   65      850       850       146.64         146.64   Current FOB   
  500      775       775       149.00         149.00   Jan     Del   

                Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1
 Head   Wt Range   Avg Wt    Price Range   Avg Price  Delivery
  114      600       600       139.28         139.28   Current FOB   
   85      650       650       139.41         139.41   Current FOB   
  130      850       850       141.64         141.64   Current FOB  Spayed
  300      750       750       140.00         140.00   Jan     Del    

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