Rain has been falling in Tennessee and lightweight calf prices are spiking.

Spring has sprung. Maybe it is not spring, but calf prices definitely make it feel like it is spring. Stocker calves and yearling cattle continue on the upward trend and are likely to continue that direction for the next month or so.

The lightweight cattle are being picked up left and right as many stocker producers feel as if there will be a shortage this fall and they will not be able to get their hands on all the stocker calves they would like to carry until the spring of 2014.

Southeastern stocker producers are picking up cattle to harvest the very strong grass growth and the potential stockpiled forage while Plains statesmen are purchasing based on the expectation that winter wheat pasture will be abundant even though the winter wheat has not even been planted. Winter wheat grazers have finally had a little relief from the extreme drought conditions and they are looking to capitalize on cheap gain and the expectation of a strong spring yearling price.

Heavier cattle have hit their stride as is normal this time of year with load lots selling $13 to $15 per hundredweight higher than their counterparts marketed as single shot cattle.

This again shows the advantage of being able to market load lots of cattle. This is not new information, but it again demonstrates that feeders want cattle that are lower-risk animals and that are likely to grow well and grade well in the feedlot.

Heifers prices are not keeping pace with the steer and bull calves, but heifers carry more risk and are a little less efficient with feed.

It would not be surprising to see heifer prices jump a little more later on as stocker producers and feedlots cannot put all the steers on feed that they would like.

Cull cattle continue to trade counter-seasonally as they are normally on a downward trend. Cull cattle are likely to trade relatively flat through the fall as fewer cows are expected to go to slaughter compared to the fall of previous years.

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