Compared to last week, steer and heifer calves in areas affected greatly by early last week ice/snow storms and the Southeast region were steady to 5.00
higher, while the other areas that got to take advantage of having larger sales last week were steady to 4.00 lower. True yearlings sold unevenly steady at auctions throughout the Plains.  After last week’s crippling ice storms, much warmer temperatures brought about a big thaw, only to have another storm hit the Dakotas and most of Nebraska mid-week.  With that thaw, also brought reports of muddy pens and cattle carrying “tag” on sale day.  Some reports of near a foot of snow along the South Dakota/Nebraska line were commonplace.  Even though it was cold outside in the North mid-week, demand was good from the buyers in the crowd, even though some receipts were curtailed due to road conditions.  Recent precipitation has backgrounders optimistically planning for spring and summer grazing on grass pastures.  On Tuesday in Philip SD, 3 loads of steers weighing from 808 to 826 pounds sold at 142.00 and in Bassett NE on Thursday, a load of 705 pound top quality heifers rang the bell at 156.00.  Live fed cattle trade on Thursday called steady to 2.00 lower at 120.00 to 122.00 while dressed sales were 1.00 lower at mostly 194.00.  Cattle feeders appear to have a better return on investment recently compared to most of 2016.  The handsome fed cattle rise in prices during the holidays have went a long way in bringing a smile underneath many weathered cowboy hats.  Cattle on Feed Report was released this afternoon with January 1 reported at 100 percent; Placements at 118 percent and Marketings at 107 percent with Placements being a considerably higher and the rest coming close to industry  analyst estimates.  Choice boxed beef closed this week at 192.70, 2.28 higher than last Friday’s close.  Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down 2 percent from last year.  Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 7 percent from the previous month and up 11 percent from last year.  Frozen pork supplies were down 8 percent from the previous month and down 13 percent from last year.  Stocks of pork bellies were down 4 percent from last month and down 67 percent from last year.  Additionally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through the illustrious 20,000 level this week.  Auction volume this week included 54 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 41 percent heifers.
SOURCE: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, MO