"Compared to last week, the bulk of the light offering of yearling feeder cattle sold steady to $5 higher with motivation from much lower than expected placements on last week's Cattle on Feed report," say analysts with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). "Calves failed to see much support from the yearling trade with early-week markets unevenly steady to $5 lower and many areas of the Southeast seeing even stiffer losses on lightweights."
With Thursday's grain-bearish Planting Intentions and quarterly Grain Stock reports from USDA, calf prices jumped as Feeder Cattle futures were up the 30¢ limit and Corn futures were down the 40¢ limit.
By the end of the week, cash fed cattle prices had gained, too: $2-$4 higher on a live basis ($127-$129/cwt.) and $4-$6 higher ($202-$204/cwt.) on a dressed basis.
Given the gloomy market conditions of the past several months, AMS analysts say, "March 28th is when the feeder and stocker cattle market found a bottom with a springboard to bring demand and attitudes out from under the cloud that has plagued them since right after the first of the year."
Cash fed cattle trade was inactive on very light demand through Friday afternoon. There were too few sales in any region for a trend. The last reported market was Thursday:
Live sales in the Texas Panhandle sold at $127-$128. In Kansas, live sales sold at $128. In Nebraska, live sales sold at $127 to mostly $129 with a few at $129.50; dressed sales at mostly $203-$204. In Colorado, live sales sold at $129. In Iowa-Minnesota, live sales at $126-$128 but mostly $127; dressed sales at $202 to mostly $203.