"Even though this week's trend was mostly higher than two weeks ago, the general mood of the feeder-cattle sector isn't as positive as it was during the holiday week," say USDA Ag Marketing Service (AMS) analysts. "The feeder cattle market seems to be struggling for a sense of direction or some kind of confirmation that we've found solid bottom-side support."

For the week, AMS reports feeder and stocker cattle selling for mostly steady to $3 higher than two weeks ago (the holiday week); these categories were mostly steady to $3 down in the Southeast. Fed cattle lost some ground, too -- $1-$2 on live sales (mostly $86) and $3-$4 in the beef ($135).

According to AMS, "Most reporting areas have indicated that buyers have become very selective, resulting in erratic price trends and uneven trading. This fall's lower price levels have allowed those buyers that are in the market to go after exactly what they want, instead of settling for the class of cattle that appears to have the best value."

The summary below reflects the week ended Dec. 1 for Medium and Large 1 -- 500- to 550-lb., 600- to 650-lb., 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.
MO 44,300 $111.01 $101.91 $100.97 $99.40 $93.63 $92.67
KY* 31,000 $996-109 $89-99 $86-965 $83-93 $80-903 $76-865
TX 20,300 $106.37 $96.39 $102.32 $97.29 $94.59 $90.67
Dakotas 19,000
South Dakota
North Dakota

$116.76
$117.50

$110.822
$104.44

$101.357
$97.66

$104.50
$103.89

$102.132
$96.26

$94.616
$93.75
OK 17,800 $115.80 $103.06 $103.33 $98.14 $87.97 $90.82
AL 17,500 $102-109 $90-1003 ** $89-97 $80-883 **
IA 15,000 $111.65 $94.964 $99.79 $103.02 $101.142 $99.76
NE 14,800 $124.19 $118.112 $105.23 $109.67 $105.372 **
TN* 12,600 $97.38 $90.91 $87.80 $86.04 $832.09 $81.47
AR 10,100 $99-109 $88-983 $83-935 $84-941 $79-893 $79-895
GA*(***) 9,300 $85-105 $80-93 $75-87 $78-96 $73-90 $78-82
FL* 9,000 $82-103 $78-88 $70-75 $80-95 $75-87 $72-904
Carolinas* 8,100 $82-110 $75-91.503 $75-875 $72-88.50 $70-853 $65-765
MS 7,100 $90-1001 $80-903 $74-805 $80-901 $73-803 **
KS 6,700 $113.74 $111.11 $103.68 $101.32 $95.60 $94.75
WY 6,600 $118.63 $109.062 ** $101.68 $95.922 **
LA(ND) 6,500 $88-106 $88-1032 ** $81-101 $81-1002 **
CO 4,700 $106.72 $97.824 $93.417 $101.58 $94.17 $88.16
NM 3,900 $107.92 $96.43 $91.164 $97.06 $89.46 $81.52
WA* 3,100 $103.42 $95.942 ** $88.59 $88.712 $83.367
VA 2,600 $106.292 $97.06 $91.96 $93.73 $83.08 $88.264
MT 1,500 $112.63 $106.082 ** $98.61 $94.102 **

* Plus 2
** None reported at this weight or near weight
(***) Steers and bulls
NDNo Description
1500-600 lbs.
2550-600 lbs.
3600-700 lbs.
4650-700 lbs.
5700-800 lbs.
6750-800 lbs.
7800-850 lbs.