Fed Cattle Recap | Cash market shrugs off polar vortex

Cash prices for fed cattle were slightly higher in face of nasty weather.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

February 5, 2019

The cold, wet weather of late has created exceptionally challenging conditions for cattle and cattle feeder alike. But the cash market for fed cattle shrugged off the weather, it seems, in spite of feedyard managers’ willingness to sell cattle to mitigate muddy pen conditions.

The cash trade was just a little higher for the week ending Feb. 2, regaining most of what it lost last week on slightly smaller cash sales numbers.       

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 245,209 head, compared with about 238,780 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 84,796 head, compared with about 90,768 head the previous week.

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 29,000 head this week and the packers have about 166,000 head for February. The national cash sales this week included 8,471 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and 28,786 head previous week.

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $123.87 per cwt, compared with $123.29 the previous week, a 58-cent boost for the week.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $198.34 per cwt, compared with $197.22 the previous week, which was $1.12 higher.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $198.07 per cwt, compared with $199.01 the previous week, making it 94 cents lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 593,000 head. That compares with 613,000 head the same week last year.

The latest average national steer carcass weight is starting to be updated now and the weight for week ending Dec. 22, 2018 was 891 pounds, down 1 pound from the previous week and 12 pounds below the 903 pounds the same week last year. So cold weather and storms are keeping weights below last year.

The Choice-Select spread was $1.11 on Friday, compared with $4.98 the previous week and a $5.65 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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