My View From The Country

Market Treads Water But Looks Lower

First, the good news. Feeder steers and heifer sold steady to $3 higher last week, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the fed market was steady to $1 higher at $86-$87.

Now, for the other boot.

Year-to-date slaughter of cattle is down 1.1% from a year ago, but total beef production is up 4.3%. "Heavyweights and increased numbers are the culprits in the beef supply picture," say AMS analysts. "Average dressed carcass weights at 782 lbs. are 31 lbs. heavier than at this time last year."

Cheap cattle feed and ideal feeding weather has a way of doing that. "This entices putting on another 100 lbs. to lower overall unit production cost and help the red ink a little bit. However, this is temporary relief and counterproductive to long term objectives," AMS says.

Slaughter cattle prices have dropped around $10 since the first of the year, and the CME feeder cattle index is down a similar amount.

Last week's Cattle on Feed report was bearish, too. Numbers in feedlots are up 8% from a year ago; February placements are up 5% and February marketing's are down 1%.

The summary below reflects the week ended March 24 for Medium and Large 1 -- 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb., and 700- to 750-lb. feeder heifers and steers (unless otherwise noted). The list is arranged in descending order by auction volume and represents sales reported in the weekly USDA National Feeder and Stocker Cattle Summary:

Summary Table State Volume Steers Heifers Calf Weight 500-550 lbs. 600-650 lbs. 700-750 lbs. 500-550 lbs. 600-650 lbs. 700-750 lbs. OK 20,400 $135.96 $124.19 $109.01 $119.43 $111.26 $97.75 MO 19,300 $135.63 $122.22 $108.07 $118.77 $107.43 $95.26 TX 18,600 $128.28 $113.91 $103.61 $124.13 $105.78 $94.97 Dakotas 16,800 North South $136.16 $139.77 $121.55 $125.11 $104.686 $111.28 $118.102 $128.08 $111.52 $114.71 $104.50 $103.10 KY* 16,200 $114-124 $102-112 $89-995 $99-109 $92-1023 $82-925 IA 7,300 $143.42 $129.36 $111.76 $128.83 $113.05 $98.60 GA*(***) 7,200 $109-134 $100-117 $91-101 $101-125 $91-105 $82.50-90 Carolinas* 6,400 $107-136 $90-1173 $83-1025 $95-119 $85-1063 $82-97.505 NE 6,200 $141.95 $124.34 $109.06 $129.22 $113.96 $103.28 TN* 6,100 $123.68 $109.02 $98.82 $112.70 $100.25 $89.64 AL 5,600 $125-134 $104-1143 $94-1004 $115-122 $103-109 ** KS 5,300 $130.90 $122.974 $108.17 $114.692 $103.804 $95.91 AR 4,700 $129.84 $115.55 $103.26 $116.82 $105.59 $98.61 FL 4,300 $109-124 $94-113 $91-97 $101-115 $92-93 ** VA 4,200 $128.37 $116.42 $102.94 $112.75 $98.93 $93.51 MS* 2,400 $115-1251 $105-115 $88-945 $105-1151 $95-105 $90-954 CO 2,100 $137.42Z2 ** $102.806 $130.01 ** ** WA* 1,900 ** $117.08 $103.94 ** $108.26 $101.65 LA* 1,700 $120-127 $111-1212 ** $109-119 $105-1152 ** WY 1,600 $139.87 $115.332 $105.446 ** $122.182 $107.944 NM 1,500 $126.642 ** $106.09 $113.92 $110.682 **

* Plus 2 ** None reported at this weight or near weight (***) Steers and bulls NDNo Description 1500-600 lbs. 2550-600 lbs. 3600-700 lbs. 4650-700 lbs. 5700-800 lbs. 6750-800 lbs. 7800-850 lbs.

What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contribur Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

Contributors

Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×