Grazing Cattle Sharply Higher, Fed Cattle Firm

Feeder cattle ( FJ )

Steers and heifers suitable for grazing programs sold sharply higher in the week ended Jan. 10. Agricultural Marketing Service reporters said feeder steers and heifers sold mixed, $1 lower to $3 higher. Demand was called good to very good at livestock auctions nationwide.

“Load lots of long-time weaned calves were in the offering as producers were ready to get their calves Marketed,” AMS reported. “Several loads of light weight calves could be procured this week from the Southern Plains to the Northern Plains, then grazed and sold as summer yearlings.  Large crowds in attendance at most locations this first full week of the year.  From the ‘Stock Show Specials’ to the Highway 20 corridor in Nebraska, this report is showing the largest auction receipts in the last 10 years.”

Mild weather up until late in the week benefitted cattle producers, but areas in the Dakotas and Nebraska continue to be inundated with moisture and cattle pens are described as not conducive to efficient weight gain. 

Cattle feeders and packers were in a standoff late Friday, with the market not tested. The last sales occurred at $124 to $125. A few cattle in Iowa sold at $126, or $1 higher. However, the market anticipates steady to higher prices as cattle feeders were asking $127 late Friday.

The Choice beef cutout closed Friday at $210.38 and Select was $206.84. The Choice/Select spread was $3.54.

Cattle slaughter was estimated at 640,000, about 94,000 more than the previous week and 9,000 more than a year ago.