Compared to last week, calves and yearlings sold fully steady to 5.00 higher with many major markets compared to two weeks ago coming back from last week’s Labor Day Holiday.  Continued good demand remains for calves and yearlings with active bidding have helped to keep the uptrend intact.  We are entering the time of year where every week we are starting to see more calves coming to market.  With an abundant feed supply of corn and winter wheat grazing around the corner will help to keep cost of gains low and demand very good for feeders.  Big Crops usually get bigger and corn and soybean yields will be no exception this year as Wednesday’s USDA crop report was released with corn production forecast at 14.8 billion bushels up two percent from August and two percent higher from last year.  Corn acres for harvest are forecast at 81.8 million acres unchanged from August and down one percent from last year.  Corn yields are expected to average 181.3 bpa, up 2.9 bushels from August forecast and up 4.7 bushels from 2017.  If realized will be the highest yield on record for the U.S. Soybean production is forecast at a record 4.69 billion bushels up two percent from August and seven percent from last year.  Soybean yields are expected to average a record high 52.8 bpa, up 1.2 bushels from August and 3.7 bushels from last year.  CME cattle futures responded with sharp triple-digit gains on Wednesday following aggressive losses in corn trade and again made sharp triple-digit gains on Friday which should benefit the fed cattle market.  The market continues to be active on loads of yearlings as in Imperial, NE on Tuesday sold near 450 hd of 800-850 lb yearling steers averaging 825 lbs sold with a weighted average price of 158.65, with an offering of 248 hd weighing 833 lbs at 159.50.  Cattle Country Video out of Torrington, Wyo. held their video auction on Tuesday selling near 18,000 head with active bidding including 240 hd of value added steers out of Wyoming for November delivery weighing 420 lbs at 224.00 and 240 head of the heifer mates averaging 410 lbs at 198.00.  The tone of the fed cattle market seems to be on a gradual improvement with very good beef demand from the consumer and exports.  No doubt, this year packers and retailers have benefited far more than the cattle feeder has, as we work through plentiful summer supplies.  Slaughter levels continue to clip along with near 650,000 expected for this week.  The box-beef cut-out continues to slip seasonally lower as it dropped sharply last week and continues to decline this week. Looking at the post Labor Day retail landscape usually undergoes a transition from summer to cooler weather.  While heat still lingers in many parts of the country beef items continues to hold onto their spot in the meat case and retail ads.  Hurricane Florence is heading for the Carolina’s and has great potential to do a lot of damage. For livestock the one area of concern is the pork industry with major hog producing and processing facilities in the region.  At this time we can only apprehend the potential risk from such a storm and its impact on the east coast.  Choice boxed-beef on Friday closed .23 cents higher at 204.27 with Select .77 cents lower at 196.47 compared to last Friday’s close with Choice at 206.56 and Select at 197.09.  Auction volume included 51 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.