Positive news on the fed cattle trade front as prices held mostly stead to firm. However, volume was lighter compared to the previous week.
Five-area formula sales volume which includes the major feeding areas totaled 184,805 head compared to about 196,201 the previous week. The five-area total cash steer and heifer volume was 47,431 head compared to about 62,261 head the previous week.
However like we have reported in earlier weeks, packers have bought almost 100,000 head cash cattle for 15-30 day delivery in addition to the normal 1-14 delivery during the previous few weeks which would be available now. The estimated weekly total FIS cattle harvest for the holiday week was 555,000 head compared to 529,000 head the same week last year which was 26,000 head over last year.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvested was about 45,000 head compared to about 43,000 head the previous week. But the packers have about 249,000 head of forward contract cattle available for September and 218,000 head for October.
The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the five-area region was $104.92 compared to $104.66 the previous week, 26 cents higher. The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the five area region was $166.13 compared to $165.71 the previous week, 42 cents higher.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending August 26 was 3 lbs. higher at 887 lbs. which was compared to 896 lbs. the same week last year.
Choice-Select spread was $1.99 on Friday compared to $0.70 the previous week and that compared to a $5.63 spread last year. The spread normally starts to increase in September, helped by cooler weather and grilling.
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 continues to work with cattle trade analysis.