Depending on your inclination, the feeder-calf market held up admirably last week; mostly steady to $3 higher. We say admirable because there's plenty working against it.

As analysts for USDA's Ag Marketing Service note, "Country elevator bids for corn are at a decade high and on top at $3.50/bu. compared to $1.87 a year ago... Dry weather persists in Southwest wheat pasture country, and with wheat prices up near $5/bu. they may want to harvest every acre and not graze as much. Year-to-date beef production is 5.8% above a year ago with cattle slaughter numbers up 4% as average weights are currently 14 lbs. above a year ago. Cattle slaughter has averaged 638,000 head so far this year and consumer demand seems unable to support a much larger slaughter at current prices. Kills at this rate will not reduce feedlot numbers very rapidly."

The summary below reflects the week ended Dec. 15 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.
MO 57,400 $110.91 $102.63 $100.62 $99.35 $95.73 $93.04
Dakotas 38,300
South Dakota
North Dakota

$119.69
$113.07

$109.76
$105.15

$103.73
$99.36

$109.16
$102.68

$100.67
$95.85

$96.05
$94.09
TX 27,900 $110.43 $102.78 $101.96 $98.36 $94.86 $93.97
KY* 26,400 $95-105 $88-98 $85-955 $83-93 $80-903 $78-875
NE 23,300 $119.68 $106.16 $106.16 $106.49 $101.10 $100.904
OK 21,900 $117.86 $105.98 $103.79 $101.43 $96.94 $95.96
IA 15,700 $115.23 $106.67 $102.474 $103.00 $97.44 $96.98
KS 13,600 $115.12 $108.33 $104.02 $102.68 $100.32 $96.75
WY 11,300 $116.89 $109.392 $102.586 $99.33 $95.64 $97.176
AL 11,100 $100-108 $94-101 $90-964 $90-100 $83-90 $79-865
CO 10,000 $110.69 $105.03 $97.624 $101.82 $96.904 $94.70
TN* 9,800 $100.56 $91.78 $88.78 $88.78 $85.16 $82.69
AR 9,500 $108.24 $98.07 $94.20 $94.06 $89.78 $87.61
FL* 7,300 $86-105 $80-95 $76-854 $83-104 $76-87 $70-75
NM 6,900 $105.15 $102.72 $96.45 $98.37 $93.68 $90.54
MT 6,600 $116.32 $100.68 $93.29 $100.14 $89.22 $86.91
Carolinas* 5,600 $89.50-106 $80-98.503 $77-925 $79-93 $75-883 $65-805
MS 4,800 $90-1001 $80-903 ** $85-951 $79-853 **
LA(ND) 3,700 $90-107 $87-1062 ** $84-102 $82-992 **
VA 3,600 $107.59 $94.16 $90.88 $84.17 $79.51 $94.16
WA* 3,400 $95.282 ** $90.72 $90.29 $87.592 $87.506
GA*(***) 2,000 $98.97 $88.59 $84.51 $90.26 $86.49 $77.624

* 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.