Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 lower, with some locations instances up to as much as 10.00 lower. The CME Cattle complex has struggled in recent weeks to gain any ground on the market, however contracts closed higher on Tuesday and Friday this week. Since Good Friday, the freefall continued until this week with the front six Feeder Cattle contracts gaining 0.45 to 1.27 and the front six Live Cattle contracts were 0.97 lower to 0.17 higher this week. Feedyards are trying to find that magic spreadsheet that will tell them what weight of cattle to buy and at what price so that pen can make a profit when harvested. Feedyards were willing sellers early this week with Southern Plains sellers trading on Tuesday at 120.00, 2.00 to 3.00 lower than the week before. Northern Plains feedyards sold on Wednesday at 189.00 to 196.00 dressed, 5.00 to 6.00 lower than last week. Rain and waterlogged fields have been the main talk across the breadbasket of the country as cattle receipts were hampered from Kansas to the Dakotas to Illinois and Indiana. Receipts on this report were adversely affected by the wet weather as auction receipts were around 70K less than a week ago. Cool weather coupled with the wet soil conditions has hindered corn planting at this juncture in the year. Not one single listed state is above the five-year average and some are not even close. Illinois is only 10 percent completed; 56 percent behind the five-year average. The 18 states that account for 92 pct of the corn acreage in the country is only 23 percent completed; double that figure and that is where the five-year average is. Country elevators in some states are now reporting a 6 figure in the front of their soybean price. For the week, the Choice cutout closed 6.25 lower at 221.11, while Select was 5.83 lower at 207.46. Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection estimated at 664K for the week, 6K less than last week and 9K more than a year ago. Reported auction volume for this week is 43 percent over 600 lbs and 43 percent heifers.
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.