Feeder cattle prices firmed up and were mostly $1-3 higher except for eight-weight steers which were lower after a jump last week. Volume was a little better than last week with 19,400 head at the test auctions, but that was about 10,000 lower than last year. Recent good rains along with tougher market conditions has pushed receipts down compared to last year.
Despite the decent news in the feeder cattle market, slaughter cow numbers look bleaker. This was the second big week of falling cow prices even though the cow meat prices were only steady to weak. However the receipts at the cow auctions continue to run well over last year. The YTD estimated FIS cattle harvest total is currently about 1.1 million head over last year at this time. Slaughter cow year-to-date total estimated FIS numbers, which are part of that total are about 166,000 head, higher than last year which has kept a lid on the cow prices along with starting to push them lower now.