Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle sold 2.00-5.00 higher with the full advance placed on those weighing over 800 lbs. Steer and heifer calves traded steady to 5.00 higher with lightweights (under 500 lbs) continuing to make up a larger percentage of the total offering than normal as producers simply cannot resist current price levels.
At the OKC-West El Reno Livestock Market, the feeders weighing over 900 lbs were quoted 8.00-10.00 higher than last week with 625 head of top quality 900-1000 lb steers averaging 951 lbs at 169.55. There has been an extra push lately for heavy feeders from Northern Plains buyers that have headed south in an effort to fill both commercial and farmer feedlot orders. There have also been reports of many Nebraska tagged pickups taking inventory of turned-out Kansas Flint Hills and Oklahoma Osage yearlings, many of which will be coming off double stocked pastures in July.
Available feeder offerings are drying-up faster than a California cow pasture. Demand is also still peaking for replacement females as all the signals are blinking for cow/calf producers to speed up the assembly line. Tuesday at the Ozark's Regional Stockyard, just north of the Missouri-Arkansas equator, a pot load of fancy 774 lb mostly red and red motley-faced heifers took the roof off the newly remodeled auction arena with the gavel dropping at 215.00 or 1664.00/hd. Somewhere in the Midwest this week, a row-crop farmer was listening to a cattle auction report on his tractor radio while pulling his corn/soybean planter and it dawned on him that he probably should be planting grass.
Friday's cattle-on-feed report lent even more support to the skyrocketing feeder cattle market. May 1st on-feed inventories were just as expected at 99 percent of a year ago (lower than the previous year for the 21st consecutive report). Placements of feeder cattle into feeding facilities were less than forecasted at 95 percent of 2013; while marketings of fed cattle during April were right on with estimates at 98 percent, and the lightest marketings for the month since the series began in 1996. Cattle markets waited and waited for hard evidence that our supplies were indeed getting as low as many thought, now the data keeps cattle sold 1.00-3.00 lower for the week from 145.00-147.00 and mostly 2.00 lower dressed at 234.00. This week's reported auction volume included 50 percent over 600 lbs and 43 percent heifers.