Active trade and solid demand from short-bought packers Friday launched fed cattle prices to new record highs as live trade jumped $4-$6 depending on the region and dressed prices popped $5-$6 higher.

More specifically, fed cattle traded mostly $5 higher in Texas at $129 and a few at $129.50. Live sales in Kansas traded $5 higher at $128. In Nebraska, live sales were $4.00-$5.50 higher at $127-$129, while dressed sales there were mostly $6 higher at $203. Live sales in Colorado traded $5.50-$6.00 higher at $129. Live sales in Iowa-Minnesota traded $4 higher at $127, while dressed sales were mostly $5 higher at $203.

Before the late-week rally in the fed cattle market, calves and feeder cattle were trending higher once again. Feeder steers and heifers sold firm to $3 higher on the week, according to analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“Southeastern calf markets and old-crop stockers throughout the balance of the country traded $2-$6 higher, but early arrivals of soft new-crop fall calves in the Plains and the Midwest sold very uneven,” the AMS analysts say. “Some areas of the central U.S. are continuing to see further price advance on the young pee-wee calves, while other marketing areas are reporting trends up to $8 lower, even on top quality steers. No doubt, the best demand is presently for short-yearling 500-750 lb. stockers possessing a relatively thin condition, plus the stretch and frame that grazers know will yield efficient weight gains on early grass. This is very typical for March and early April, but supplies are so tight and the weather has been so mild that these types have been high priority all winter.