National Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary...

Compiled by the USDA Market News for the week ending October 18th:

RECEIPTS:     Auctions      Direct    Video/Internet      Total
This week:     274,000       44,000       2,100               320,100
Last week:     218,500       48,100      33,200              299,800
Year Ago:      270,300       25,400      27,700               323,400
Compared to last week, yearling steers and heifers sold steady to 4.00 higher.  Steer and heifer calves sold uneven; 3.00 lower to 4.00 higher.  The supply of feeders overall was moderate leaning towards heavy with some individual local livestock auctions having heavy supplies as the fall runs are starting to pick up.  Some producers who had held off on marketing are now starting to bring cattle to town after prices have risen over the last few weeks.  Very good demand for yearlings as the supply of yearlings off grass tightens and the cash fed cattle market moves higher and the futures contracts followed.  Today at Fort Pierre (SD) Livestock Auction, over 10,000 head are on offer with several sets of green yearlings coming off grass and a load of 842 lb steers sold for a lofty price of 157.25.  This could become a wild ride moving into fall as more sets of reputation calves come to market.


Producers in the Southern Plains are wary of buying calves weaned under 60 days. Cool fall weather is expected to move into the trade area over the weekend and into next week. Temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s with lows at night in the 30s and 40s.  Light to moderate demand for calves in the South Dakota as most farmer feeders aren't ready to receive a calf yet as they haven't begun their corn harvest yet and are just starting soybean harvest. A large snow storm last week in the Dakotas caused many consignment cancellations and rescheduling of auctions. This wet weather made feedyard pens even worse than before.  Bawling calves seem to be finding the most variable demand and very dependent upon how much or little health risk buyers view each lot as having. Fall temperature swings are in full effect and desirable calves are required to have adequate health programs.  Discounts for those calves without shots or legitimate weaning programs are severe and would unquestionably pay for the simple and cheap procedure. 


Slaughter cow prices are moving into their typical fall slump as a plethora of open cows are moving to the marketplace.  As we move from October to November, monthly cow prices are pressured and will squander away an average of 3.50 in 8 out of the last 9 years according to NASS.  Lack of slaughter space for cows is a big component of that loss as several mature cattle slaughter plants closed in the last five years.  For the week, the Choice cutout closed 2.38 higher at 218.04, while Select was 4.36 higher at 193.04; putting the Choice-Select spread at 25.00.  Packers continue to chase the quality as longer fed cattle in Northern Plains commanded a higher price than the Southern Plains last week. 


Another blip on the fed cattle slaughter watch this week with a plant in Dodge City, KS reporting an explosion on Wednesday in a building not attached to the main structure.  Many operations are continuing at the plant in the short term, however all slaughter processes stopped immediately.  According to the company affected, the cattle receiving side of the facility will be up and running by early next week.  Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection estimated at 642K for the week, 3K less than last week and 10K more than a year ago.  Auction volume this week included 44 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.

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