Fed Cattle Recap | Cash market takes a breather

The cash market for fed cattle was mostly $1-2 lower on smaller volume with bigger numbers of 15-30 day delivery.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

September 1, 2020

The grind to higher prices in the cash market for fed cattle took a break for the week ending August 29. Labor Day buying by retailers has largely been completed and it’s likely the market is waiting for signals of what’s ahead for consumer demand.

Feedyards are still working through the backlog of long-fed cattle but are moving those cattle as efficiently as possible. That means pens are opening up and feedyards are actively buying feeders to keep noses in the bunks.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 261,583 head for the week ending August 29, compared with about 251,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 83,198 head, compared with about 114,000 head the previous week. But the packers have over 26,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery to use now. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 29,000 head for the week. The nationally reported 15- to 30-day delivery was 28,562 head along with 19,555 head the previous week and over 26,000 head three weeks ago. 

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 Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending August 29 was $105.09 per cwt, which was $1.50 lower compared with the previous week. Last year the same week it was $105.59, which was about $1.50 lower than the week prior. The current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $108.30 this week.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $166.53 per cwt, which was $2.88 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $169.53, which was $4.52 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest on Friday, August 28, was reported at 654,000 head, which compares with 653,000 head the same week last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending August 15 was 909 pounds, 3 pounds higher compared with the previous week. The same week last year, carcass weights came in at 881 pounds, 3 pounds higher than the week prior.  

The Choice-Select spread ended the week at $14.54 on Friday, August 28, compared with $16.95 the previous week and a $19.50 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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