There was a very good run of feeder cattle with 47,100 head at the test auctions last week, which was about 13,000 head higher than prior to Christmas and 4,000 head higher than last year. Prices improved and were mostly $1-4 higher, except on the heifers weighing over 700 lbs. that were about $2 lower prior to Christmas. There also was more weaned and thin calves moving, which really helped the calf prices, as well as narrowing the price spreads between the top and bottom prices.
Additionally, test auctions saw a solid run of slaughter cows with 9,400 head, but keep in mind that most auctions were shut down during the last two holiday weeks. The prices were more uneven with some lower and some higher compared to prior to Christmas when we had the last test. The western auctions were mostly $2-3 higher as packers actively bid to rebuild inventories after those two weeks with very low numbers. However, the dairy cow auctions were mostly steady to $1 lower with more numbers the last two holiday weeks.