The calendar turns to spring next week and the demand for grass cattle has intensified. All classes of steers and heifers sold steady to $5 higher, with instances of $6 to $7 higher on light calves in the northern plains.
Agricultural Marketing Service reporters said, “Demand was good for feeder cattle and very good for grass cattle with the right condition. The feeder cattle futures saw triple digit gains throughout the week, which provided support to feeder trade. The feedlot trade continues to show resilience, adding optimism in the feeder arena.”
The bulk of fed cattle traded Wednesday and Thursday, a good indication packers need cattle to fill spring orders. The market topped for the second week in the Western Corn Belt at $130 – $132 per cwt, with a few up to $134, $3 to $4 higher. Dressed cattle traded at $210, with a few up to $215, $8 higher.
Western Kansas fed cattle traded $2 to $3 higher from $127 to mostly $128 live, with a few up to $128. In the Texas Panhandle live purchases traded mostly $3 higher at $128 with a few up to $130. Nebraska saw active trading with trends of $4 to $5 higher on live sales at $131, with a few up to $132. Dressed sales were $8 higher at $210. On Wednesday in Colorado live purchases were $1 to $5 higher from $126 to $131. In the Western Corn-belt compared to last week, live purchases traded 3.00-4.00 higher from 130.00-132.00, with a few up to 134.00; dressed traded 8.00 higher at 210.00, with a few up to 215.00.
Last week’s feedyard margins exceeded $400 per head, and this week’s rally likely increased bottom-line closeouts. Feedyard profits have gained 40% over the past month.
Friday’s Choice cutout was quoted at $223.43, up $3.60 from the previous Friday. Select was at $214.48, up $3.49. The Choice/Select spread was $8.95
USDA’s National Cutter Cow Carcass Cutout value was $168.50, up $0.86 from the previous Friday.