Of all the fundamental factors that make the fed cattle market move, seasonality may well be one of the most fundamental. We’ve enjoyed a good ride in the fed cattle market for much of 2018, but the seasonal decline in cash prices appears to fully be in play.
This year, cash prices have dropped about $18 per cwt since mid May. Last year, the drop was about $27 during the same time period, but then continued to drop $14 more until early fall.
What the rest of the summer slump holds for fed cattle prices this year remains to be seen. For the week ending June 30, however, the cash market dropped $1 to $3 per cwt, but cash sales volume increased again.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 253,493 head, compared with about 252,358 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 110,690 head, compared with about 70,449 head the previous week.
The national cash sales this week include about 20,200 head of 15- to 30-day delivery, which was up about 12,000 from the previous week. Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 73,000 head, which was up over 30,000 head from the previous week.
Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $106.87 per cwt, compared with $108.74 the previous week, which was $1.87 lower for the week. Last year, the cash market rang up at about $118 this same week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $169.90 per cwt, compared with $173.21 the previous week, which was $3.31 lower.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $179.40 per cwt, compared with $183.71 the previous week, making it $4.31 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 646,000 head, compared with 638,000 the same week last year. The current year-to-date total is about 469,000 higher than last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending June 16 was 856 pounds, which is up 5 pounda from the previous week and close to the 855 pounds recorded the same week last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $13.39 on Friday, compared with $15.14 the previous week and a $16.31 spread last year.