Steer and heifer calves traded mostly $3-$6 per cwt lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Feeder steers and heifers sold mostly $3-$4 lower. Auction receipts continue lighter than normal and buyers continue to discount un-weaned calves.
As cow-calf producers contemplate marketing alternatives in the current market, Glynn Tonsor, agricultural economist at Kansas State University encourages them to compare market-based value of gain projections to guide more informed decisions
Taking the kind of calves that many folks consider to be high risk, applying a different philosophy of health management and plenty of what may well be the best grass in the world, those calves tell the story of what’s possible through the management that defines this year’s BEEF National Stocker Award winner.
“There seems to be a fear that there is no bottom to markets once the cow herd expands and beef production starts to rise,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
The most recent National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) fell below 100 in August for the first time in eight months, dropping a full percentage point to 99.6. The spate of restaurant bankruptcies this year also points to tougher economic reality.
For the balance of the year, steer slaughter is expected to moderate, still up but by a smaller amount on a year-over-year basis, Peel says, while heifer slaughter will continue sharply higher compared to last year.
Although female slaughter rates suggest the total cattle inventory is on track to expand by about 3.5% (Jan. 1), analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center say other factors, including reduced imports, could make for more modest growth.
Calf, feeder and fed cattle prices declined with increased numbers and ongoing uncertainty. Steers and heifers traded mostly $2-$10 per cwt lower, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Cash fed cattle prices were mainly $2-$6 lower at $101-$104 per cwt on a live basis; $3-$8 lower at mostly $160-$163 in the beef.