040205 National Feeder Cattle Weekly Summary

February 13, 2004 (Based on information issued by USDA) - Compared to the previous week, feeder and stocker cattle trends were very uneven and ranged from 3.00 lower to 3.00 higher on both calves and yearlings. The Southeastern calf markets encompassed the full range and varied from state to state with no uniformity. Light calves were fairly scarce in the center of the nation and the market for these few stockers was just as volatile.

For the most part, prices for yearlings and calves weighing over 600 lbs were lower in early-week auctions and then improved on Wednesday when the futures rallied and it became evident that the fed cattle market would be higher.

The best demand for heavy feeders was shown in the Midwest and Northern Plains in Wednesday and Thursday sale barns, where 700 lb steers again reached the 90.00 level. Direct trading in Texas and Kansas was slightly higher on yearling steers but showed weakness on heifers, which may or may not have to do with age considerations.

The lack of heifer retention over the last few years, coupled with massive herd sell-offs due to drought, has caused a shortage of feeder cattle. The demand for both stockers and feeders outweighs the supply, which is the only reason that prices have maintained respectable levels amid other fundamental market indicators that are mostly bearish.

This week’s reported auction volume included 52% over 600 lbs and 44% heifers. Auction volume for the week: 195,000 this week; 210,700 the previous week; 257,100 the same week last year.


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