Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold 1.00 to 5.00 lower in the North and South-Central regions, while the Southeast was quoted mostly steady. Grazing cattle out of the Southeast were the greatest in demand this week. Feedyards were tepid in taking on more cattle this week. More precipitation and/or blizzard-like conditions late this week bombarded a widespread area of the Plains. High winds from the Texas Panhandle to Western Nebraska brought treacherous conditions for truckers as some bull boxes decided to err on the side of caution and wait out the storm. This week’s receipts were curtailed again this week due to either reduced or cancelled sales in Nebraska and the Dakotas as an intense storm ripped through Rockies and into the Central and Northern Plains. Low-lying areas that feed the Missouri River are inundated with moisture and the frozen ground underneath can’t absorb any more precipitation. The Missouri River at Plattsmouth, Neb. hit a record high of 37.15 feet Thursday night, exceeding the previous record high set in 2011 of 36.73 feet. A “bomb cyclone” occurred when the barometric pressure fell at least 24 millibars in a 24-hour period. All this happening as the winter of 2018-2019 just continues to drag on. For those cow-calf producers that starting calving four to six weeks ago, this winter has been extremely taxing emotionally and physically. Physical demands of this winter left some ranchers working 24/7, only to hope and catch a nap here and there if they can get away to a warm cozy place. Cow-calf producers in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Missouri are poised to wean a calf crop that will fall way short of perfect this fall. Anecdotes of cattleman losing 10-25 percent of their calf crop is commonplace this year, even for some of the cattlemen that normally have a 95+ percent at the end of calving season. With the abundance of moisture this winter, one would expect an excellent hay crop year; that is very much needed after the last two winters. In the middle of the country, grass typically starts turning green the middle March, however with the excessive cold and snow just leaving now, it may take a little longer than normal to turn cows out to graze. On Monday at Callaway Livestock Center in Kingdom City, Mo. short half load of yearling steers weighing 708 lbs sold at 165.50 and at the St Joseph Stockyards (Mo.), a half load of yearling steers weighing 754 lbs sold at 157.25. For the week, the Choice cutout closed 0.86 higher at 226.99, while Select was 1.44 lower at 217.34. Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection estimated at 593K for the week, 10K less than last week and 8K less than a year ago. Auction volume this week included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 43 percent heifers.
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.