“Handsome price levels are pulling graze-out wheat cattle off pastures a bit earlier than usual this year, with heavy auction receipts at many large volume sale barns across the Southern Plains,” said analysts with the Agricultural marketing Service (AMS) Friday. “More sellers are moving load-lots through the auctions as they figure paying a little freight and commission is a small price to pay for increased competition.”

So goes what some consider a surprisingly robust cattle market this spring. Both stocker and feeder cattle continue to steam along, selling last week mostly steady to $2 higher.

“Like the graze-out yearlings; lightweight new-crop calves, culled slaughter cows and bulls, and fed steers and heifers are all being pulled ahead to take advantage of the lofty cash markets,” AMS analysts said. “Stockers and feeders continue firm on near historical highs, fed cattle are maintaining their profits and position near the century mark, and packer cow buyers keep outbidding replacement female interests, even on middle-aged high production mothers.”

There are pressing concerns that could rain on the bullish parade (see “Cattle Fundamentals Overwhelm Global Finance Worries”), but the AMS folks conclude, “Feeder cattle marketing will soon taper off as we head into the long hot summer and, unlike most commodities, the extremely tight supplies tend to pressure the market as buyers struggle to fill trucks and orders. But, demand is expected to be very good for any offering that is large enough to draw a crowd as we now know just how tight beef cattle numbers are at every level.”

The summary below reflects the week ended May 7 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 37,500 $130.57 $124.44 $118.77 $116.772 $113.50 $107.10
MO 33,000 $130.41 $125.06 $118.96 $117.98 $114.86 $107.70
TX 26,300 $123.42 $117.20 $110.06 $114.74 $108.82 $104.23
KY* 16,000 $120.77 $114.85 $110.27 $109.19 $105.38 $103.77
Dakotas 14,100
SD
ND

$133.67
$131.18

$126.25
$127.15

$118.73
$116.65

$125.67
$117.54

$119.83
$114.34

$111.65
$110.82
KS 11,900 $133.80 $125.17 $118.26 $119.79 $113.03 $108.33
AL 9,000 $122.49 $113.70 $106.76 $108.77 $103.75 $95.31
Carolinas* 7,400 $104-125 $98-112 $90-106 $92-115 $85-107.50 $79-93.50
AR 7,200 $124.72 $116.60 $113.764 $114.07 $108.67 $104.694
TN* 7,100 $117.94 $109.11 $104.41 $105.30 $99.77 $94.71
IA 6,300 $136.10 $129.15 $120.95 $123.52 $116.60 $108.82
FL* 5,900 $107-122 $103-116 ** $95-114 $90-110 $86-94
GA*(***) 5,700 $105-120 $96-112 $93-104 $96-113 $88-104 $87-99
MS* 5,500 $109-1221 $103-1143 $99-1095 $100-1101 $94-1023 $89-955
CO 5,200 $146.63 $131.14 $118.69 $122.68 $111.95 $107.94
NM 5,100 $128.84 $111.96 $101.19 $116.76 $108.45 **
LA* 4,300 $115-125 $103-117 $102-1124 $102-112 $100-110 $97-1074
NE 3,700 $136.52 $126.97 $120.03 $124.24 $119.63 $109.48
VA 3,000 $118.78 $115.77 $105.39 $110.67 $107.484 $98.71
MT 2,600 $129.65 $114.104 $111.35 $123.60 $114.67 $110.57
WY 1,800 $136.65 ** $113.71 $123.95 $108.734 **

* 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.