Demand for calves and feedlot replacements was tempered this week by tough pen conditions, with another belt of snow aiming for Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
Steers and heifers sold from $1 per cwt lower to $2 higher across much of the nation, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Prices in the Southeast were steady to $4 lower.
Cattle feeders were on the defensive after another snowstorm early in the week, with more on the way, said the AMS reporter on hand for Thursday’s sale at Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota. He said much colder than normal temps for the last 30 days, coupled with snow and high winds, has made for a really tough winter.
Week to week on Friday, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 54 cents higher (7 to 90 cents higher).
According to reports, cow-calf operators will likely see lower prices during 2019 on a combination of higher feed prices and expected large supplies of cattle in feedlots and adequate supplies of calves available for placement.
Part of the pressure stems from unrealized expectations for improved Southern Plains winter wheat pasture last fall to absorb increased seasonal supplies of cattle.
The fourth-quarter 2018 feeder steer price was $147.90 per cwt for an annual price of $146.93. For this year, the recent LDPO pegs feeder steers prices (basis Oklahoma City) at $140-$144 per cwt in the first quarter; $141-$149 in the second; $144-$154 in the third quarter; $138-$148 in the fourth.
Listen to Wes Ishmael's Cattle Market Weekly Audio Report every Saturday morning on the BEEF magazine website. This is your report for Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.