The cash market for fed cattle is on summer break it seems, with both prices and volume taking the week off.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

July 31, 2018

The dog days of summer roll on as cattle feeders look forward to cooler weather and an eventual uptick in wholesale beef prices as consumers prepare for Labor Day. But for the week ending July 28, the cash market for fed cattle was in languish mode.

The feedlot cattle trades were close to $1 per cwt lower in most locations with cash sales volume half of the previous week.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 249,275 head, compared with about 229,238 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 63,951 head, compared with about 128,312 head the previous week.

The national cash sales this week include only about 1,200 head for 15- to 30-day delivery, which means not only are all cash sales being delivered now, but also the higher numbers of cattle bought previously for 15- to 30-day delivery. Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 38,000 head, up over 10,000 head from the previous week. 

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $111.73 per cwt, compared with $112.61 the previous week, which was 88 cents lower for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $176.22 per cwt, compared with $179.00 the previous week, which was $2.78 lower.   

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $179.09 per cwt, compared with $179.70 the previous week, making it 61 cents lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 640,000 head, compared with 627,000 head the same week last year. Current year-to-date harvest total continues to climb higher than last year, up 547,000 head year over year.    

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending July 14 was 867 pounds, which was the same as the previous week and 2 pounds higher than the 865 pounds the same week last year. However, heifer carcass weights jumped up 6 pounds for this same week and were $803 pounds.

The Choice-Select spread was $6.87 on Friday, compared with $7.17 the previous week and a $9.40 spread last year. 


About the Author(s)

Ed Czerwien

Market Reporter

Ed Czerwien is a market analyst in Amarillo, Texas. From the heart of Cattle Feeding Country, Ed follows the cattle 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.

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