The rising box beef prices and fed cattle prices along with the early CME rally improved feeder cattle prices again with a lot more feeder cattle coming to town. There was 48,400 head at the test auctions which was 4,000 higher than last week, but 13,000 head higher than last year. However, the very big run of new crop calves moderated the prices a little and the biggest rally was on the eight-weight steers and seven-weight heifers because of improving risk management for spring fat cattle.

Improving cow meat prices helped the slaughter cow prices get a little higher in most areas except in the east because there was a plant shut down for repairs in a big dairy area. The cow cutout on Wednesday was $171 which was over $2 higher compared to Wednesday last week and those 90 percent trimmings were $216 which was almost $4 higher. However the spread was bigger in prices between different regions because of that plant shut down.