Cattle prices were mostly higher during the holiday-shortened week. According to the Agricultural Marketing Service, a light test of calves sold mostly steady to $10 per cwt higher at major auctions, while a light test of yearlings sold steady to $4 higher. Direct trade was firm to $3 higher.
"Purchasing and selling decisions need to be made in a timely manner and without emotion. Volatility in the cattle markets is not likely to decrease and the long-term outlook is bearish; however, given good cattle marketing and price risk management, profitability is achievable.”
Although beef production this year is estimated to be 2.1% less by the Livestock Marketing Information Center, record-large pork and broiler production set the stage for record-large red meat and poultry production.
“The ratio of steers to heifers in feedlots since April of this year has reached levels not seen since the cyclical expansion in the early 1990s," says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
Calf prices were widely inconsistent this week at steady to $5 per cwt higher, to $5 lower with instances of $10 either way, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service. Feeder cattle traded steady to firm.
September placements of feeder cattle weighing 800 pounds or more increased 7.8% year over year, representing 43% of placements, according to the monthly Cattle on Feed report. Total placements of 1.93 million head were 4% less year over year.
Wariness was most apparent in the cash fed cattle market. Trade remained at mostly a standstill through Friday afternoon with a sizable gap between prices cattle feeders wanted and those being offered by packers.
“The next two weeks are likely to be the most critical in determining the cattle market situation for the remainder of the year,” says Derrell Peel, Extension livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.