The bulk of cash fed cattle sold at $110, with a few at $111 per cwt., $1 to $2 higher. Cattle sold on a dressed basis at $175. The trade was considered moderate, and the price trend was generally higher. Many feedlots are pricing cattle several dollars higher - $115 to $116 - for next with the December futures price at $115.
Cattle futures pushed higher to close out the week. Most live cattle rallied and closed on or near their highest levels since late April/early May, with gains of 82 ½ cents to $1.55. Feeder cattle futures posted moderate gains. Both markets notched solid gains for the week, with December live cattle up $2.50.
For the week the Choice cutout closed $7.40 higher at $225.44 with Select $6.40 higher at 199.84. The Choice/Select spread was $25.60.
Yearling steers and heifers, however, sold uneven at auction, $3 lower to $1 higher. Steer and heifer calves sold $1 to $4 lower. AMS reporters said good demand remains for yearlings.
“Colorado, Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle received an early snow late this week with widespread areas expecting temperatures next week to be 15-20 degrees below normal, leaving unweaned, non-conditioned calves in light demand,” AMS said. “Potential health risks have kept most buyers at bay for calves. However, preconditioned long-time weaned calves did attract much more of the buyer’s attention creating wide price spreads. Moreover, with harvest now in full swing, some farmer-feeders are focusing on getting crops out rather than placing calves. With most feedlots at or near full capacity throughout most feeding regions, placing cattle has become challenging as empty pens are already spoken for or getting much needed maintenance work completed.”
Cattle on feed
Cattle and calves on feed in feedlots with greater than 1,000 head capacity totaled 11.3 million head On Oct. 1, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, down 1% from a year ago.
The inventory included 6.87 million steers and steer calves, down 3% from the previous year.
Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.09 million head, 2% higher than 2018. Net placements were 2.03 million head.
During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 420,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 355,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 460,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 475,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 273,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 110,000 head.
Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.74 million head, 1% above 2018.
Other disappearance totaled 59,000 head during September, 4% above 2018.