Feeder cattle uneven with those over 800 lbs steady to 2.00 higher;  under 800 lbs steady to 2.00 lower. Steer and heifer calves sold unevenly steady. Demand for feeder weight cattle very uneven this week and mainly depended on age. Especially 6 weight cattle, who were either too young for the feedyard or too big for new wheat. Typically, this time of year, buyers are looking for cattle 60+ days weaned. However, this year due to the wet and muddy conditions in many areas 120 days seemed to be the earmark for numbers of days weaned. Demand for heavier weight cattle and those that would finish in April was very good. At the St Joe Stockyards this week 148 head of 712 lb. fancy steers sold for 175.00 and 118 head of 850 lb steers that were fancy sold for 167.10. 700 lb. steers at Bassett Livestock Auction sold for 179.00. Calf demand improved some and moderate to good. Discounts are still there for short weaned and un-weaned calves as warm days, cool nights and wet conditions remain in many areas of the country. Though nationwide auction numbers are down from last week, some auctions saw larger head counts as a few days of open weather dried pastures and dirt roads enough to get cattle loaded and hauled to market. The trucking shortage continues. Cattle buyers looking for trucks are having to compete with other industries that can afford to pay truckers more per mile. Boxed beef prices moved higher with the Choice cut-out at 218.78 and Selects trading at 203.66. This was up 5.07 from last Friday. Cash slaughter cattle prices finally making a move and higher. Texas and Kansas selling 4.00-5.00 higher from 114.00-115.00 and dressed trade in Nebraska 6.00 higher at 180.00. Cattle futures failed to take the momentum from the bulls and continued to trade in a very volatile pattern. Evidence of feedyards being current showed this week as steer carcass weights came in at 894 lbs which is a 5 lb. drop from last week and last year. Wheat plantings in part of the wheat belt is coming in at 78 percent complete, which is 10 percent below a year ago. Winter wheat emergence is 68 percent and this though the same as last year is still 32 percent below normal.
Source: USDA Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division, St. Joseph, Mo.