National feeder and stocker cattle summary for week ending Friday.

Receipts: Auctions Direct Video/Internet Total

This week 143,200 32,400 30,500 206,100

Last week 138,400 70,100 146,200 354,700

Last year 165,200 31,800 203,800 400,800.

Compared to last week, feeder cattle and calves again traded unevenly steady. A number of auctions from the Northern Plains through the Midwest had yearlings and calves steady to 5.00 higher, while just as many steady to 5.00 lower. In the Southeastern markets calves traded mostly steady to 5.00 lower. Record prices have leveled off the past few weeks, but it’s hard to call demand any lighter as cattle buyers remain very active and optimistic for all classes of feeders.

Last week’s Cattle on Feed report wasn’t quite as bullish as expected, but we still have less cattle than a year ago and it’s worth mentioning that we will still have a tight feeder cattle supply as expectations are that supplies will continue to be tight through the end of the year and into 2015. Going on the last three weeks we have seen a very volatile Live and Feeder Cattle futures trading, only to see good gains run out of steam the next day with triple-digit losses.

The futures markets can be very emotionally charged and extremely volatile and take no prisoners. Slaughter cattle weights are on the rise and will likely continue to remain at record levels. Often we lose sight of the fact that even though we have a tight supply of feeders we have the genetics and the efficiency to put on a lot more pounds of beef on the animal than ever before, getting us to record weights.

Low corn prices will only add to the cause. A record corn crop right around the corner should keep the pressure on corn prices. This week’s corn crop report showed 73 percent rated good to excellent, which is up 1 percent from last week, compared to a year ago the corn crop was rated at 59 percent good to excellent. Looking at some regional weighted averages in North Central regions, 600-700 lb steers 1.50 higher at 244.95, 700-800 lb steers mostly steady and 800-900 lb steers mostly 5.00 lower.

In the South Central regions, 500-600 lb steers near 3.00 higher with 700-900 lb steers selling 2.00-3.00 higher. This week’s reported auction volume included 51 percent over 600 lbs and 38 percent heifers.

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