Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves sold steady to 5.00 lower. Yearling steers and heifers sold steady to 3.00 lower. Receipts were much larger than last week as road conditions improved dramatically in certain areas as dryer and warmer weather permeated across the Plains. In the Northern Plains, calf runs are just getting started and high quality weaned calves are in demand. The demand for unweaned calves this week was moderate while demand for preconditioned and weaned calves was moderate to good. The lighter runs in recent weeks had northern backgrounders chomping at the bit to get those calves in yards or back out on grass. Great grazing conditions coupled with ample forage supplies, both growing and harvested, have moved calf runs in that area just a little later than normal. Snow and freezing temperatures early in the week has dissipated and warmer weather has appeared and let both farmers and ranchers get more outside work done before the temperatures move lower and stay there. Producers are hoping large temperature swings are in the past and won’t surface the rest of the fall. Yearlings are in demand this time of year as feedyards will try to get the new procurements in the processing plant prior to June becoming the front month on the CME. On Wednesday in St. Joseph, Mo., a load and a half of thin fleshed 765 lb steers sold at 176.75, while a half load of steers weighing 908 lbs sold at 157.00. Also on Wednesday at Bassett Livestock Auction in Bassett, Neb. three loads of 955 lb and another load of 965 lb steers sold at 156.75, or right around $1,500 per head. On Thursday in Ogallala, Neb. two large loads of 709 lbs heifers sold at 169.00. Last week marked the fifth consecutive week of live sales in the Southern Plains at 111.00. With packer margins continuing on the positive side, year-to-date cattle slaughter is 2.5 percent larger than a year ago. Packers continue to move boxed beef values higher as more beef eating holidays are coming up. The October CME Live Cattle contract continues to run at a premium to cash cattle and near 150 certificates have been tendered for physical delivery of cattle so far this month. Not long ago, the cash-futures basis was on the other side and market players would not be inclined to tender. For the week, the front six month of CME Live Cattle contracts were 0.63 lower to 0.75 higher. The front six months of CME Feeder Cattle contracts were 0.05 to 1.92 lower. For the week, Choice cutout closed 5.22 higher at 207.93, while Select was 1.96 higher at 194.24. Friday’s Cattle on Feed was reported at 105 percent of a year ago; placements at 95 and marketings at 96 percent respectively. The On Feed number of 11,400,000 head is the largest October 1 total since the data series began in 1996. Auction volume this week included 35 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 39 percent heifers.
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.