Compared to last week, steers and heifers traded steady to 4.00 higher. Cattle auctions nationwide have put the Labor Day holiday week behind them and are ready to take on the fall runs of calves in the coming weeks. The supply of feeders was light this week as several early week auctions were dark in observance of the holiday and most others had limited offerings. Demand for feeders was good although buyers are showing a stronger preference for cattle with good health programs as fall temperature swings become a concern. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, slow-moving bands of showers and thunderstorms moved over a vast area of the Midwest and dumped an abundant amount of rain, with widespread totals of 3 to 8 inches and locally some places received up to 15 inches. The drought has improved some areas in the Midwest 1 to 2 drought categories as the region has encountered flooding in streams that are near or have eclipsed record levels. Only a few areas that missed out on the heavy rains remained unchanged. Ranchers had almost become accustomed to the dry dirt when going to check cows, but have been snapped back to reality and now have to put overshoes on to check cattle. The CME Cattle Complex traded on the positive side most of the holiday shortened week. This week, the front six Live Cattle contracts gained 1.18 to 1.88, while the Feeder Cattle contracts were 2.80 to 3.83 higher. Coupled with last week’s increase, the front three Feeder Cattle contracts are 5.50 to 6.225 higher than two short weeks ago and auction feeder cattle have been following that trendline pretty closely. The Live Cattle contracts have been the inverse of that. October 2018 through August 2019 Live Cattle contracts have been 3.22 to 3.675 higher in the past two weeks, however negotiated cash fed cattle have been lower. As of this writing, negotiated cash fed cattle in the 5-Area has not been established yet this week after last week’s Southern Plains live sales were 2.00 lower at 107.00. With Feeder Cattle contracts higher recently, cattle feeders were willing to put top quality calves in the feedyard. On Monday at Torrington Livestock Commission Co in Torrington, Wyo. a load of 922 lb Fancy steers with all the bells and whistles sold at 159.00. On Wednesday at Bassett Livestock Auction in Bassett, Neb. a load of 950 lb steers sold at 156.25. On Thursday at Valentine Livestock Auction in Valentine, Neb. a load of 749 lbs steers sold at 176.75 and a load of 770 lbs steers sold at 170.00. USDA released July import/export numbers and were positive for the industry with July exports up 17 percent year over year with Year-to-Date totals being 15 percent larger as imports were 2 percent below a year ago. For the week, Choice cutout closed 3.13 lower at 206.56, while Select was 4.18 lower at 197.09. Auction volume this week included 53 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers..
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.