The cash market for fed cattle continued its downward slide for the week ending July 1, but the slope wasn’t quite as slippery as the week prior.
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 $118.64 per cwt, compared with $121.50 the previous week. That’s a drop of $2.86 per cwt, considerably less than the nearly $9 drop for the week ending June 24.
The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was about $3.85 lower at $189.95 per cwt, compared with $193.80 the previous week.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 84,353 head, compared with about 84,100 the previous week.
The Five Area average formula price was $206, compared with $217.42 the previous week, for a sharp drop of $11.42. Five Area formula sales totaled 213,652 head, compared with about 198,367 the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 68,000 head, which was slightly higher than the 64,000 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 17 was 8 pounds higher at 855 pounds, compared with 867 pounds last year, narrowing the difference in carcass weights between this year and last.
The Choice-Select spread was $16.31 on Friday, compared with $23.03 the previous week, and that compares with a $15 spread last year. The daily Choice rib primal hit a top of $438 per cwt prior to Father’s Day, but dropped to $345 by Friday, a $93 backslide, and the Choice loin followed a similar path, so we’re continuing to narrow the spread.
Estimated total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 638,000 head, compared with 605,000 head the same week last year. That’s 33,000 head over last year for the week, and the estimated year-to-date total harvest is running 853,000 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.