Fed Cattle Higher, Calves Steady to Lower

Drought worries in the Central Plains have taken some of the luster off grazing cattle prices. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Cash fed cattle sold at $126 to $127.50 per cwt. this week, $1 higher. Cattle on a dressed basis sold mostly at $204, steady with last week.

Calf prices were called mixed, with AMS reporting steers and heifers selling at auction steady to $5 lower. However, a few auctions quoted prices steady to $4 higher on grazing type cattle. Demand for the lighter stockers remains strong ahead of the grazing season.

Drought remains at top-of-mind for many in the Panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma, and southwest Kansas. Dry, windy conditions this week sparked fires that burned 40-square miles in south-central Kansas. Winter wheat conditions are poor throughout the region.

Beef demand appears to remain a highlight as the beef cutout posted additional gains this week. The U.S. Meat Export Federation also noted January exports rose 9% over the same month a year ago.

Choice beef cutout closed Friday at $224.14, up $1.62 from the previous Friday. Select cutout traded at $217.26, up $2.62 for the week. The Choice/Select spread was $6.88.