The government shutdown did little to dampen the enthusiasm drifting through the cattle markets. Cattle feeders are printing closeouts with black ink again after a two-year blood bath, and cowmen are seeing record paydays this fall on calves and feeders.
USDA’s Market News service reopened last week following the government furlough and the reports confirmed higher prices on every class of cattle. Market News reporter Corbitt Wall pegged feeder cattle prices $2 to $5 per cwt. higher than the last available report, issued the last full week of September.
"The full advance was noted in the Southern Plains on true yearling feeders and on 5-weight calve for wheat pasture," Wall said. "Some market pressure has been noted on 6-weight unweaned calves in which supplies always outweigh demand of this time of year."
Watch Wall's report:
Packers pushed cash fed cattle prices $1 to $3 per cwt. higher last week at $130 to $131 to fill slaughter needs. Top sales eclipsed the previous all-time record for fed cattle of $130 per cwt. Cattle sold on a dressed basis at $203 to $204 per cwt.
Analysts expect feedyards to price cattle steady to higher this week as supplies of market-ready cattle remain tight.
Boxed beef prices increased from levels recorded at the end of September. Choice cuts were recorded at $196.29 while Select cuts were $179.98. The Choice/Select spread was $16.31 on Friday.