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

Feb. 28

Compared to last week: Slaughter trade this week set a record high with live cattle in the South Plains $5-6 higher from last week. Live trade in Nebraska $4 higher and dressed sales $7-10 higher.

Boxed beef prices Feb. 28 averaged $223.11 up $10.79.The Choice/ Select spread is $2.91. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through the morning of Feb. 28 totaled about 107,661 head. The previous week’s total head count was 105,473 head.

Midwest Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-80 Percent Choice, 1200-1400 lbs. $151-152 Dressed Basis: Steers and Heifers $240.

South Plains Direct Markets: Live Basis: Steers and Heifers 35-65 percent Choice, 1100-1400 lbs. $150-151.

Slaughter Cows and Bulls (Average Yielding Prices): Slaughter cows and bulls sold steady to firm.

USDA’s Cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was $191.86 up $.42 from Feb. 21.

NATIONAL FEEDER AND STOCKER CATTLE

(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

Feb. 28

This week Last week Last year

319,000 310,900 217,800

Compared to Feb. 21: Yearling feeder cattle sold unevenly steady with some pressure early in the week (especially on weights over 850 lbs.) but Feb. 26 record-high fed cattle trade extinguished any early pressure and added some late week strength. Trading was most active on 500-750 lb. old crop stocker cattle and hard lightweight calves from the Southeast where prices were firm to $5 higher.

Increased offerings of softer new crop, fall-born calves in the Plains and the Midwest sold mostly steady. Receipts were much heavier than the same week a year ago when a crippling snowstorm hit the Southern Plains and the Midwest with as much as 20 inches of snow.

However, nationwide auction head counts were about 10 percent lighter than the previous week as many Northern Plains auctions have moved to an every-other-week schedule as available feeder supplies tighten. Yet another miserable snow/ice storm was set to pummel much of the major cattle production areas of the country this weekend, as most folks wish they had never heard of the polar vortex.

Overdue rains have finally reached the West Coast, but unfortunately some areas are expecting to get a year’s worth in just a few days. March is roaring in like a lion and stocker buyers are aggressively readying themselves for the arrival of the lamb. Backgrounders with spring pastures to graze are making their annual trip to the sale barn or to the phone to call their favorite order buyer. These “buy-’em” orders can be as particular and specific as any worked all year, but at the same time stronger than most when the right kind of cattle come up for sale. Longtime weaned and fully vaccinated froze-out short-yearlings that are showing a bit more age than size along with a thin-fleshed and empty weighing condition usually fit the bill.

Some buyers insist on dark hides, but most times the cattle only need to be solid-colored on their bodies as late summer yearling feeder orders aren’t usually too picky. By the time the green grass actually gets here these cattle will be long gone, so buyers are collecting them while they’re still available.

Ogallala, Neb., sold 49 head of fancy 426 lb. steers for $301.25 and a pot load weighing 707 lbs. for $198. Packers appeared to be short-bought for immediate needs this week as they jumped out Wednesday and set another all-time record high with fed cattle selling $4-6 higher from $150-152 and $7-10 higher at mostly $240 dressed. Boneless beef (hamburger meat) from slaughter cows and bulls also posted an all-time record this week with the benchmark 90 percent lean product as high as $250.73.

Normally, it takes a grilling holiday weekend to spur this kind of buying, so what can we expect when retailers prepare for Memorial Day? This week’s reported auctions, 57 percent over 600 lbs. and 41 percent heifers.

AUCTIONS

This week Last week Last year

232,200 258,700 132,700

WASHINGTON 1,800. 80 pct over 600 lbs. 39 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 700-750 lbs. $165.65; 750-800 lbs. $161.03; 800-850 lbs. $161.39; 850-900 lbs. $158.27. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 600-650 lbs. $171.42; 650-700 lbs. $165.79; 700-750 lbs. $161.07; 800-850 lbs. $154.62.

DIRECT

This week Last week Last year

50,100 47,800 47,600

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

NORTHWEST (Washington-Oregon-Idaho) 4,000. 79 pct over 600 lbs. 35 pct heifers. Steers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery FOB Price 750 lbs. $168 Idaho; 800-900 lbs. $160-166 Washington-Idaho; 900-950 lbs. $166 Washington; Future Delivery FOB Price 500-600 lbs. $190-200 for October-November Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $180-185 calves for November Idaho; 700-750 lbs. $180 calves for November Idaho; 900-950 lbs. $162 for September-October Idaho. Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2 Current Delivery FOB Price 650 lbs. $165 Idaho; 700-750 lbs. $154 Idaho; 800-900 lbs. $154-158 Washington; Future Delivery FOB Price 500-600 lbs. $179-187 for October-November Idaho; few 500 lbs. $193 thin for November Idaho.

NORTHWEST DIRECT CATTLE

(USDA Market News)

Moses Lake, Wash.

Feb. 28

This week Last week Last year

4,000 1,550 850

Compared to Feb. 21: Stocker and feeder cattle $2-8 higher due to higher slaughter cattle and CME markets. Trade moderate with very good demand. The feeder supply included 65 percent steers and 35 percent heifers. Nearly 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: 750 lbs. $168 Idaho; 800-900 lbs. $160-166 Washington-Idaho; 900-950 lbs. $166 Washington. Future FOB Price: 500-600 lbs. $190-200 for October-November Idaho; 600-650 lbs. $180-185 calves for November Idaho; 700-750 lbs. $180 calves for November Idaho; 900-950 lbs. $162 for September-October Idaho.

Heifers: Medium and Large 1-2: Current FOB Price: 650 lbs. $165 Idaho; 700-750 lbs. $154 Idaho; 800-900 lbs. $154-158 Washington. Future FOB Price: 500-600 lbs. $179-187 for October-November Idaho; few 500 lbs. $193 thin for November Idaho.

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