As expected, the surprising and unexpectedly large cattle placements in August (+7.4%) – reported a week ago Friday – cast a shadow on calf and feeder prices last week.

In the futures pit, feeder-cattle futures ended the week down roughly $2.73 through the first six contracts, from Friday to Friday.

In the cash markets, steer and heifer calves sold $3-$7 lower, according to USDA's Ag Marketing Service (AMS). With the fall run gathering speed, buyers had plenty of selection and were especially brutal on soft, unweaned calves. A lighter test of yearlings traded steady to $4 lower.

“It seems like every year a larger percentage of the fall calves in the auctions are right off the cow and lacking vaccinations. It’s either because sellers have found out that the extra work and expense outweighs the reward, or because sellers who indeed add value to their calves through preconditioning have grown their herds and now have load lots to attract buyers in the country or on the video,” AMS analysts explained Friday. “Demand has deteriorated for 450- to 700-lb. calves, as just a few weeks ago practically every buyer wanted 'em... and now nobody does.

Grain prices continue to apply pressure to calf and feeder markets, too. Corn futures closed Friday at $5.10-$5.42 through next September. Truck bids closed the week about $1.50/bu. higher than a year earlier.

“Chicago Board of Trade corn contracts have blown past $5/bu. and cattle growers fear winter feed costs as the disappointing harvest is just now hitting full stride in the Corn Belt and another flood has struck the upper Midwest,” said AMS analysts. “Beef-cattle supplies remain tighter than they have been in well over 50 years, but seasonal supplies annually bring about volatile prices.”

The summary below reflects the week ended Sept. 24 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:

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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 26,800 $120.40 $116.50 $112.74 $108.22 $106.18 $105.29
OK 26,500 $112.71 $108.76 $112.20 $105.19 $105.00 $104.15
TX 26,200 $110.65 $108.48 $106.12 $103.74 $98.54 $101.66
KY* 24,400 $107.82 $103.73 $101.37 $97.45 $94.85 $96.27
Dakotas 20,200
SD
ND

$132.82
$113.932

$119.24
$111.874

$118.62
$111.95

$116.09
**

$117.45
$107.61

$109.26
$103.72
AL 15,000 $105.42 $101.00 $94.21 $93.00 $89.30 $84.39
NE 13,000 $130.22 $119.50 $112.97 $114.94 $108.98 $107.58
Carolinas* 9,800 $93-113 $87-105 $86-98 $80-100 $80-94 $74-91
AR 9,700 $111.36 $105.48 $103.184 $98.12 $95.28 $93.734
FL* 9,200 $86-110 $86-102 $87-974 $86-101 $80-89 $81-864
TN* 8,700 $103.85 $97.62 $92.92 $89.49 $87.23 $86.02
GA*** 8,000 $90-109 $85-103 $81-97 $82-99 $80-95 $82-84
IA 7,900 $118.25 $119.11 $114.73 $113.48 $110.85 $106.72
MS* 7,400 $96-1091 $95-1043 ** $88-1001 $88-953 **
VA 7,200 $108.16 $101.03 $97.66 $91.41 $90.14 $82.19
NM 5,900 $112.93 $105.11 $105.22 $98.24 $96.43 $90.03
KS 5,700 $117.94 $116.18 $112.96 $107.75 $99.85 $106.39
CO 4,500 $119.03 $110.13 $112.36 $106.21 $105.93 $102.61
WY 4,400 $120.82 $113.00 $108.90 $110.31 $107.20 $106.35
MT 2,800 $124.87 ** $109.277 $109.26 $103.07 $103.88
WA 2,800 $118.86 $108.004 $110.44 $111.49 $110.11 $101.03

* 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.