The replacement heifer demand that has been very impressive the past month seems to be mostly done for now.  I expect breeding female demand to pick again next spring assuming forage conditions look favorable at that time.
Fed cattle prices have dropped back slightly from record levels but are holding close in the $130-$131 per hundredweight (cwt) level.  Choice boxed beef prices dropped back $2-$3 per cwt this past week to the $199 per cwt. level.  

I expect cattle and beef markets to move mostly sideways for the remainder of the year though boxed beef could rebound slightly in early December.  Continued decreases in cattle slaughter and beef production through the end of the year will help support prices near current levels for fed and feeder cattle.
The November Cattle on Feed report included October placements up 9.8 percent from last year’s record low levels.  Some perspective is important to interpret this report. October placements were down 1 percent from the five-year average that include last year and were down 5.3 percent from the 2007-2011 five-year average.  

The latest October placement number was slightly smaller than the 2002 level and, with the exception of last year, was the smallest October placement since 1995. By any measure except last year’s record low level, it is still a small October placement number.

Seasonally, October is the largest placement month as feedlot inventories grow in the fall to a seasonal peak in December before declining to seasonal lows in August. The Nov. 1 cattle on feed inventory was 10.607 million head, down 5.7 percent from one year ago and is the lowest Nov. 1 feedlot inventory since 1996. end mark


– Derrell S. Peel is an extension livestock marketing specialist for Oklahoma State University. This appeared in the Cow/Calf Corner newsletter.