The summer slump in feed cattle prices is in full control, it appears, as the cash market for fed cattle slid again for the week ending July 8.
The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa, was $117.58 per cwt, compared with $118.64 the previous week, for a drop of $1.06 per cwt.
The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $188.18, compared with $189.95 the previous week, about $1.77 lower.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 84,299 head, compared with about 84,353 the previous week.
The Five Area average formula price was $196.60, compared with $206 the previous week, for a drop of $9.40. Five Area formula sales totaled 178,087 head, compared with about 213,652 the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 23,000 head, compared with 68,000 head the previous week. Packers have more than 136,000 head of forward contracts available for July and 217,000 for August.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending June 24 was unchanged at 855 pounds, compared with 864 pounds last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $16.33 on Friday, compared with $16.31 the previous week and that compares with the $13.07 spread last year. The Daily Choice Rib primal saw a $438 per cwt top prior to Father’s Day, but dropped to $333 by Friday, a total decline of $105 per cwt, and the Choice loin followed a similar path, so we’re continuing to narrow the spread.
Estimated total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 546,000 head for the week, compared with 514,000 head the same week last year. That’s an increase of 32,000 head over last year. Estimated year-to-date total harvest is running 892,000 head over last year.
Ed Czerwien is a market reporter in Amarillo, Texas. From the heart of Cattle Feeding Country, Ed follows the fed cattle, feeder cattle, slaughter cow and wholesale markets to keep beef producers up-to-date on the market moves that affect them. He previously worked with USDA as a Market News Reporter. Ed is now semi-retired and continues to work with cattle trade analysis.