The fall feeder run is in full swing with calf prices moving counter-seasonally higher, said Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, Derrell Peel, in a letter to Extension agents called Cow-Calf Corner.
It is typical for the middle two weeks of November to have the largest weekly feeder cattle auction totals for the year, Peel said. But, Oklahoma’s combined auction total last week was 40,411 head, up from 26,298 the week prior.
The Oklahoma price of 450-500-pound medium light No. 1 steers was $184.95 per cwt last week, up $8.61 from the prior week. Last week also included large sales of Oklahoma Quality Beef Network and Noble Integrity Beef preconditioned feeders.
VALUE ADDED = PRICE ADDED
The average price noted for value-added calves in the USDA-AMS report for the steers was $194.57 per cwt, nearly $10.00 more than the average price for similar steers, he said. By contrast, the price for similar steers marked as unweaned was reported at $174.86 per cwt, about $10.00 less than the average and about $20.00 less than the price for the value-added calves.
The value-added calves were valued $93.62 a head more than unweaned calves and $45.70 a head more than average calves,Peel said.
CULL COWS LOWER
Cull cow prices were seasonally lower this month but were holding quite strong, he said. Oklahoma boning cow prices were reported at $62.01 per cwt last week, down 8.9% from the average August price.
The average seasonal price decline for Oklahoma boning cows from August to November was about 15%, he said. The cull cow market continued to be supported by a strong lean trimmings market despite increased cull beef supplies.
Cull cow slaughter continues to be higher year over year although the increase was smaller than earlier, Peel said. For the past eight weeks, beef cow slaughter averaged 6.5% higher year over year.
In July and August, beef cow slaughter averaged 15.2% more year over year, he said. For the year to date, beef cow slaughter was up 8.8% over 2020 and up 12.0% over 2019.
Much of the increased beef cow slaughter was coming out of the Northern Plains where drought was severe, Peel said. He compared Oklahoma boning cow prices to Montana’s. Prices dropped seasonally since August but fell more in Montana, down 9.7%.
However, from another perspective, the overall cull cow market is higher this year and although producers may be forced by drought to sell, prices have not dropped as much as sometimes happens in those situations, he said. The general improvement in cattle markets was helping to offset some of the worst drought effects.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $131.81 to $133.75 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $129.52 to $132.00. FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $205.64 to $206.81 per cwt, versus $197.79 to $203.85.
The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was down $3.66 per cwt at $278.47, while select was off $2.53 at $264.05. The choice/select spread narrowed to $14.41 from $15.54 with 152 loads of fabricated product and 35 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.
The USDA reported Wednesday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.30 to $1.40 a bushel over the Dec futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.40 over Dec, which settled at $5.75 1/4 a bushel, up $0.04 1/4.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $155.48 per cwt down $0.01. This compares with Wednesday’s Nov contract settlement of $156.07 per cwt, up $0.42.