Corbitt Wall gave the weekly USDA Feeder and Stocker Cattle summary for the week ending Feb. 21. The report showed that all weights and classes of feeder cattle and calves sold $1 to $5 higher.
Competition was high for middle weight cattle in the 500-800 pound range as demand is gaining for stocker cattle. The stockers that will sell well are the cattle that have been dry wintered or otherwise getting by on old hay—cattle that are thinner fleshed. These cattle are ready to be turned out on fresh grass and get that compensatory gain, which is what buyers are looking for. This week, those type of thin stocker cattle weighing 350 pounds brought $278 at OKC western in Oklahoma. This trend of thin stockers bringing good money is expected to continue over the next 6-8 weeks.
The Cattle on Feed report also came out on Friday, Feb. 21, and showed the actual inventory on feed as of Feb. 1 was at 97.2. The average guess was 96, so there were more cattle on feed. However, Wall states, the main reason for this was because the analyst missed the placements so far. Additionally, Wall points out that according to the national feeder cattle summary the year-to-date nationwide auction receipts are up 9%.
Normally the numbers this week would seem bearish but in all actuality, Wall says, the producers seeing that 9% increase may become more aggressive with their buying trends due to tight numbers. But for true stocker cattle, they will probably not see any pullback on the markets.
Listen to the full report at Beef Today’s Cattle Markets Center.