My View From The Country

It's Both A Sellers And Buyers Market

One thing you have to love about high calf markets and scarce forage -- at least they're opening up some value propositions on the buy side.

"Cow-Calf producers from Missouri, northern Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and the Dakotas are selling their calves early and at lighter weights in an attempt to salvage enough forage for their mothers," say Ag Marketing Service (AMS) reporters. "Many of these calves possess less added-value than normal, with producers weaning en route to the sale barn. Also, a larger percentage of the smaller operators are leaving bulls uncut and shots un-given. The feeder market is hard for sellers to resist, with handsome prices for calves and near record levels for yearlings."

In round numbers, feeder and stocker cattle sold firm to $3 higher last week, boosted by fed-cattle prices the prior week that surpassed $90 for the first time since February. Added strength came with recent moisture in parts of wheat-pasture country, and the psychological lift of South Korea agreeing to resume importing U.S. beef.

According to AMS, "Ample recent moisture in the hard red winter-wheat regions has backgrounders excited about early grazing as farmers are hustling to sow fields. Orders increased for 250- to 450-lb. calves bound for southern Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle starter yards for a quick 30-day warm up."

As for the fed-cattle market, gains in boxed-beef prices helped feeders hold pat last week, refusing packer bids they deemed too low.

"Late Friday, managers of mostly current feedlots continued to refuse lower packer bids and significant trading appeared doubtful with October CME contracts settling $1.40 lower at $92.35," say AMS analysts.

The summary below reflects the week ended Sept. 8 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.
TX 24,700 $119.90 $113.41 $107.04 $114.22 $105.74 $102.10
MO 21,300 $135.91 $132.53 $125.60 $123.04 $119.15 $117.28
KY* 15,300 $119-129 $109-118 $105-1145 $108-118 $100-110 $95-1055
OK 14,300 $130.60 $120.87 $123.42 $118.74 $115.53 $111.47
AL 12,700 $118-126 $110-117 $100-1075 $104-112 $98-107 $92-98
WY* 12,500 $136.21 $125.97 $121.10 $121.83 $124.00 $115.18
TN* 9,100 $122.29 $114.02 $108.53 $111.27 $103.44 $102.834
Dakotas 8,700
South Dakota
North Dakota

$142.49
**

$131.892
**

$124.64
$112.87

$132.80
**

$126.862
**

$117.75
**
MS* 7,900 $110-1201 $100-1103 ** $105-1101 $95-105 $90-954
GA*(***) 7,700 $103-129 $100-117.25 $96-105 $90-117 $95-108 $86-99.50
AR 7,400 $124.80 $116.24 $111.30 $114.94 107.39 $102.66
IA 6,500 $141.50 $134.33 $130.53 $133.67 $120.39 $116.65
FL* 6,100 $105-124 $97-112 $91-102 $100-110 $95-106 $95-1034
LA* 5,500 $113-123 $105-1153 ** $105-116 $101-111 **
NE 5,000 $138.83 $137.152 $122.64 $129.56 $119.512 $118.27
CO 4,000 $138.77 $128.302 ** $123.41 $119.642 **
NM* 3,500 $122.56 ** ** $116.38 $109.57 **
Carolinas* 2,700 $107-128 $100-1153 $94-1065 $100-113 $94-1063 $85-99.505
VA 1,600 $121.192 $113.76 $108.10 $111.352 $104.56 **
WA* 1,500 $126.28 ** ** ** ** **
MT 1,400 $131.96 ** $117.546 ** ** $112.97
KS 800 ** ** ** $120.162 ** $113.38

* 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 contributor 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...

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