Though high calf and feeder prices are causing some buyers to squeal, tight supplies, relative to demand, continued to hold prices steady to firm last week.

“Feeder prices stood some pressure this week as grains saw moderate to sharp advances, especially wheat which experienced near-limit gains on Thursday after news surfaced that there may be a global shortage,” explained analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Friday. “However, higher fed-cattle markets supported feeders with direct feedlot sales $1.00-$1.50 higher, from $93 to $94, and $2 higher dressed at mostly $150.This advanced was a confidence booster, falling in a post-holiday week session and right during the dog days of summer. Through the first half of 2010, most beef and cattle markets are showing considerable strength with few hints of faltering. Fed cattle are currently $10 higher than 2009 and boxed-beef cut-out values are running $15 higher than a year ago.”

Keep in mind, total cattle harvest under federal inspection through the first half of this year was 1.7% more than last year and 1% more than the five-year average, say the AMS folks.

“Tight numbers of domestic beef cattle continue to direct this bull market and it looks like herd rebuilding will have to wait for another year,” explain AMS analysts. Beef cow slaughter through the first six months of 2010 was 13.2% more than 2009 and 18% more than the five year average. Deep culling of our beef herd may be the result of the long and miserable winter causing folks to rethink cattle production, but for backgrounders and feeders it makes them wonder where next year’s calves are going to come from.”

The summary below reflects the week ended July 16 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.
OK 30,200 $130.00 $119.07 $115.91 $114.96 $111.91 $109.18
MO 28,500 $128.24 $124.02 $115.59 $115.89 $111.12 $106.12
KY* 25,400 $119.36 $114.55 $107.63 $109.33 $105.65 $103.17
TX 20,800 $119.52 $114.59 $110.07 $113.10 $109.76 $111.89
AL 16,100 $115.42 $110.18 $102.17 $106.56 $101.18 $95.60
SD 11,500 $125.552 $125.89 $118.75 $122.05 $117.44 $113.62
AR 10,200 $119.10 $113.19 $112.504 $108.80 $106.19 $104.394
Carolinas* 9,300 $102-121 $92.50-116.50 $92-104 $92-111 $88.50-105.50 $80-96
TN* 9,200 $117.35 $110.61 $108.51 $106.69 $100.93 $95.90
FL** 9,000 $100-117 $95-107 $90-94 $96-110 $90-104 $91-1004
NE 8,900 $135.16 $133.25 $122.17 $128.98 $120.85 $115.25
GA*** 8,600 $105-119 $95-116 $90-103 $95-112 $88-104 $85-95
MS* 7,900 $107-1151 $103-1143 ** $97-1091 $92-1043 $91-965
LA* 7,100 $107-118 $100-111 $102-1114 $100-110 $95-104 **
VA 7,000 $115.86 $114.56 $102.90 $103.72 $100.42 $95.12
KS* 4,400 $130.89 $125.44 $114.836 $115.99 $113.08 $108.196
NM 3,700 $124.06 $116.24 $108.38 $109.40 $102.68 $101.01
WY 1,800 ** $114.62 ** ** ** **
MT 1,600 ** ** $107.306 $111.32 $107.44 $102.006
WA 1,400 ** ** $101.93 ** ** **

* 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.
8850-900 lbs.