A running bull has to stop and catch his breath every once in a while. That’s what the cash market for fed cattle did the week ending April 1, finishing $1 to $4 per cwt lower. Question is, was it an April Fool’s prank or a precursor of what’s to come?
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 $127.38, compared with $130.91 the previous week, which was $3.53 lower.
The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $205.01, compared with $210.99 the previous week for a dropback of about $5.98.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 80,481 head, compared with about 94,924 the previous week.
Estimated total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 593,000 head, compared with 539,000 the same week last year which is about 54,000 head over last year. The year-to-date total of 7,606,000 head compares with 7,174,000 last year to this point, which is approximately 432,000 head over last year.
The Five Area average formula price was $207.01, compared with $202.11 the previous week. Although only about a nickel higher, it was the bright spot in the market.
Five Area formula sales totaled 173,918 head, compared with about 141,371 the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 44,000 head, compared with 51,000 the previous week. Packers have more than 344,000 forward contracted cattle available for April along with only 163,000 for May.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending March 18 was 9 pounds lower at 872 pounds, compared with 895 pounds last year. Good warm weather this spring is pushing more calf feds to harvest, which is lowering the carcass weights.
The Choice-Select spread was $10 for the week.