NATIONAL FEEDER & STOCKER CATTLE SUMMARY – WEEK ENDING 02/28/2014
RECEIPTS: Auctions Direct Video/Internet Total
This Week 232,200 50,100 36,700 319,000
Last Week 258,700 47,800 4,400 310,900
Last Year 132,700 47,600 37,500 217,800
Compared to last week, yearling feeder cattle sold unevenly steady with some pressure early in the week (especially on weights over 850 lbs) but Wednesday’s record-high fed cattle trade extinguished any early pressure and added some late week strength. Trading was most active on 500-750 lb old crop stocker cattle and hard lightweight calves from the Southeast where prices were firm to 5.00 higher. Increased offerings of softer new crop, fall-born calves in the Plains and the Midwest sold mostly steady. Receipts were much heavier than the same week a year ago when a crippling snowstorm hit the Southern Plains and the Midwest with as much as 20 inches of snow. However, nationwide auction headcounts were about 10 percent lighter than last week as many Northern Plains auctions have moved to an every-other-week schedule as available feeder supplies tighten. Yet another miserable snow/ice storm is set to pummel much of the major cattle production areas of the country this weekend, as most folks wish they had never heard of the polar vortex. Overdue rains have finally reached the west coast, but unfortunately some areas are expecting to get a year’s worth in just a few days. March is roaring-in like a lion and stocker buyers are aggressively readying themselves for the arrival of the lamb. Backgrounders with spring pastures to graze are making their annual trip to the salebarn or to the phone to call their favorite order buyer. These “buy-em” orders can be as particular and specific as any worked all year, but at the same time stronger than most when the right kind of cattle come up for sale. Longtime weaned and fully vaccinated froze-out short-yearlings that are showing a bit more age than size along with a thin-fleshed and empty weighing condition usually fit the bill. Some buyers insist on dark hides, but most times the cattle only need to be solid-colored on their bodies as late summer yearling feeder orders aren’t usually too picky. By the time the green grass actually gets here these cattle will be long gone, so buyers are collecting them while they’re still available.
Ogallala, NE sold 49 head of fancy 426 lb steers for 301.25 and a pot load weighing 707 lbs for 198.00. Packers appeared to be short-bought for immediate needs this week as they jumped out Wednesday and set another all-time record high with fed cattle selling 4.00-6.00 higher from 150.00-152.00 and 7.00-10.00 higher at mostly 240.00 dressed. Boneless beef (hamburger meat) from slaughter cows and bulls also posted an all-time record this week with the benchmark 90 percent lean product as high as 250.73. Normally, it takes a grilling holiday weekend to spur this kind of buying – so what can we expect when retailers prepare for Memorial Day. This week’s reported auctions, 57 percent over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.
AUCTION RECEIPTS: 232,200 Last Week: 258,700 Last Year: 132,700