With corn prices declining ahead of what much of the market anticipates to be near-record production, and Wall Street stocks suggesting the overall economy is on the cusp of recovery, you’d think beef prices might enjoy some strength.

Nope.

The fed-cattle market lost steam last week, with Nebraska trading in the beef $2-$3 lower than the previous week at $129-$130; mostly $84 live. The best feedlots could muster after that in other regions was sideways trade with the previous week: $85 in the Southern Plains; $81-$82 in Iowa/Minnesota (129-$130 dressed); and $84.50 in Colorado through early Friday ($130 dressed).

“Cattle feeders find themselves in an environment at this time which should be positive, but shaky consumer demand and increased competition from pork and chicken are continuing to pressure the beef market,” analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) explained Friday. “With average daily livestock slaughter running around 128,000 head of cattle and over 420,000 head of hogs each day, that’s putting a lot of meat on the market with demand on the lackluster side.”

With no help from futures, and volume of the fall run picking up, heifer and steer calves sold steady to $3 lower; $2-$5 lower in the Southeast. Yearling prices were reported unevenly steady at auction and steady to $2 lower in direct trade for the week.

The summary below reflects the week ended Sept. 4 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.
TX 34,400 $100.27 $99.83 $94.65 $93.47 $89.22 $92.28
MO 28,600 $111.15 $106.63 $101.58 $98.76 $97.37 $91.92
OK 25,000 $107.89 $105.90 $102.41 $97.65 $95.43 $93.09
Dakotas 24,300
SD
ND

$118.49
**

$106.44
**

$102.00
$97.127

$101.352
**

$99.79
$93.004

$95.31
**
KY* 17,300 $99.84 $94.67 $94.73 $92.36 $87.81 $87.44
AL 14,200 $96.06 $91.49 $86.79 $88.20 $82.96 $77.65
IA 9,500 $113.89 $109.35 $106.22 $101.89 $98.93 $94.39
FL* 9,400 $85-96 $75-90 $75-84 $77-86 $74-85 $66-80 4
KS 9,000 $113.222 $107.67 $100.29 $100.452 $100.94 $93.92
AR 8,500 $100.43 $94.90 $92.024 $89.44 $86.30 $86.674
MS* 7,900 $90-1001 $85-953 $80-885 $80-901 $79-883 $70-825
TN* 7,600 $99.13 $92.84 $88.90 $89.11 $83.56 $79.16
Carolinas 7,500 $83-101 $81-96 $77-88.50 $75-92.50 $70-88.25 $68-85
GA*(***) 6,800 $88-105 $85-96 $80-90 $75-95 $77-92 $79-80
NE 6,800 $116.452 $111.74 $94.39 $109.17 $102.75 $98.88
LA(*) 6,100 $92-102 $84-95 $84-904 $85-100 $81-88 $80-864
NM * 5,500 $103.66 $94.16 ** $91.05 $87.69 $87.94
MT 3,600 ** $102.504 $99.29 ** ** $90.97
VA 3,400 $98.85 $95.47 $91.97 $85.90 $85.61 $87.51
WA* 600 $91.92 $91.81 $93.224 $86.75 $85.244 $83.83

* 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.