As more calves head to town, CME rally boosts feeder cattle prices

Almost triple the volume of feeder cattle coincided with a jump in prices. But on the cow side of things, wide swing in cow meat prices caused volatility in the market.

Good news! Feeder cattle had a very big increase in volume and likewise, prices improved quite a bit. There was 34,600 head at the test auctions compared to almost 12,000 head last week and 24,000 head last year. Prices were mostly $2-5 higher on yearlings but up to 9 higher on the calves. Yearlings are moving off of native pastures with many load lots sold and prices were helped by the CME rally which improved the hedging ability. Calves saw a much better week than the prior, mainly because better numbers allowed more active bidding -- all in good timing as the normal fall movement begins.

Turning to slaughter cows, there was a much bigger run of cows with 7,100 head at the test auctions compared to 3,500 head last week. Prices at auctions quoted from $6 lower to a couple dollars higher. Those auctions that did not drop much last week dropped big time this week, but a few auctions that were really low last week actually improved just a little. Cow meat prices made really wide swings which also caused big differences on cow prices during the week.

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