The migration of stocker cattle from wheat pasture back into the market helped pull prices $2-$4 lower last week from feeder steers and heifers over 650 lbs., while cattle lighter than 650 lbs. brought even money to $3 more than the previous week. That’s according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Fed-cattle prices were no help, losing $1-$2.50 ($81-$82.50). At least that loss came before Friday’s Cattle on Feed report, which was more bullish than many analysts expected. On-feed inventory Jan. 1 was 7% less than a year ago, while December placements were 3% less and marketings for the month were 2% higher.

“Buyers keep pushing on stocker calves like its spring, even though we still have another week to go before the groundhog tells us how much winter is left,” say AMS analysts. “Each year, backgrounders seem to start compiling their grass cattle earlier in the season; this year has been exacerbated due to the expectations of extremely tight available numbers of lightweight calves this spring. Many Midwestern cattle growers have ample stockpiles of hay to hold calves until the green grass arrives, but Southern Plains graziers will have to rely on a growing yard ration – which could become permanent if some form of moisture doesn’t arrive soon.”

The summary below reflects the week ended Jan. 23 for Medium and Large 1 – 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb. (calves), 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.
Dakotas 62,200
SD
ND

$115.04
$110.95

$1034
$104.59

$97.34
$95.60

$102.50
$98.69

$94.484
$90.14

$88.36
$86.81
MO 41,800 $113.04 $102.45 $94.47 $98.31 $91.12 $87.24
OK 31,800 $107.36 $97.81 $95.15 $86.48 $86.33 $86.11
TX 30,300 $100.38 $95.12 $92.17 $87.05 $85.55 $86.50
NE 28,600 $120.65 $115.672 $97.57 $106.74 $99.432 $88.66
KY* 24,500 $100.30 $91.92 $88.65 $85.15 $81.30 $80.35
IA 22,300 $112.33 $95.354 $92.92 $98.33 $84.46 $88.76
CO 14,400 $113.51 $100.91 $97.39 $99.37 $93.79 $88.37
KS 10,900 $114.90 $101.37 $95.41 $100.45 $89.51 $88.39
MT 10,200 $113.02 $98.24 $86.54 $96.49 $90.62 $87.32
AL 9,000 $96-99 $89-97 $81-895 $82-90 $76-85 $70-805
AR 8,700 $104.44 $93.69 $91.974 $88.63 $83.20 $82.86
WY 6,900 $115.34 $100.88 $94.10 $103.90 $91.35 $86.74
FL*(***) 6,600 $85-100 $78-90 $76.814 $75-87 $73-81 $75-786
MS* 6,300 $90-1001 $80-903 $77-905 $80-901 $72-803 $74-815
GA*(***) 5,300 $85-101 $75-91 $68-85 $74-91 $71-82 $68-75
NM 5,200 $107.10 $90.11 $89.33 $91.62 $87.39 $82.66
TN* 5,000 $96.10 $89.55 $83.61 $82.66 $77.53 $72.20
LA* 3,700 $88-103 $80-99 $82-954 $81-91 $75-86 $73-884
Carolinas 3,200 $84-97.50 $79-87.50 $76-87.50 $70-88 $68-79.50 $65-73
WA* 2,200 ** $90.71 $88.84 $86.00 $83.45 $82.53
VA 1,500 $100.292 $91.89 $85.39 $85.652 $81.104 $81.036

* Plus 2
** None reported of the same quality at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
(?) As reported, but questionable
NDNo Description
1500-600 lbs.
2550-600 lbs.
3600-700 lbs.
4650-700 lbs.
5700-800 lbs.
6750-800 lbs.
7800-850 lbs.