Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold mostly 2.00-8.00 lower, with some instances 10.00 lower.  However, a few spots saw light weight steer calves trade 2.00-5.00 higher.  The week took off to a rough start as last Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report was bearish.  This sent the live and feeder cattle futures sharply lower on Monday with the nearby contracts at 116.17, down 2.15 and 123.90, down 3.55 respectively.  The board continued to decline, finally on Thursday, recovering early-week losses.  With the negative news, the trickledown effect spread across cattle country with calves and feeders posting losses at most of the auction barns.  Despite the lower cattle prices, there were some instances where cattle sold higher on good demand, in particular Torrington, WY, where a load of steer calves weighing 372 lbs brought 219.00.  This is something other areas have not seen in a few years.  Also, in Valentine, NE a load of fancy steer calves weighing 543 lbs going to grass brought 180.25.  Some Northern cattle continued to carry mud due to snow melt from last week.  On Tuesday the Cattle Inventory Report came out with inventories up from a year ago.  Cattle and calves came in at 93.6 million head, 2 percent above year ago numbers of 91.9 million head.  All cows and heifers up 3 percent at 40.6 million head and 2016 calf crop up 3 percent at 35.1 million head, a little more than expected. Pen space has been lessening as more cattle have been coming in to the feedlot in the past few months.  Feedlot trade broke out on Wednesday in the Southern Plains with live sales 3.00 lower at 119.00 and Colorado 1.00 lower at 119.00.  In the Northern Plains slaughter cattle sold 1.00-3.00 lower live from 117.00-119.00 and dressed sales trading steady money at 190.00.  Iowa traded 2.00-3.00 lower dressed from 190.00-191.00 and live sales 1.00-2.00 lower mostly at 118.00 on light trade.  Choice boxed beef was slightly affected closing this week at 191.40, down 1.30 and Select at 189.93, up .99 from last Friday’s close.  Auction volume this week included 57 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.
SOURCE:  USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, MO