The fed cattle market was $1 to $3 higher as packers look to fill their coolers.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

May 1, 2018

The market goes up and the market goes down. This has always been so and will always be true. The past several weeks have been good to cattle feeders, as sales price for fed cattle has been on an uptrend and volume has stayed strong.

But the market chatter is concentrating on more fed cattle that will be ready to come to town later this spring. Supply and demand fundamentals will prevail, but to what extent remains to be seen.

Looking first at volume for the week ending April 28, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 215,960 head, compared with about 216,249 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 125,764 head, compared with about 121,109 head the previous week. The national cash sales this week include about 25,900 head of 15-30 day delivery.    

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 623,000 head, compared with 630,000 head the same week last year.  The current year-to-date total is about 216,000 head higher than last year. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 69,000 head, compared with about 60,000 head the previous week. The packers had about 265,000 head of forward contracts for April along with about 201,000 head for May and 202,000 head for June

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $123.73 per cwt, compared with $121.71 the previous week, which was $2.02 higher. The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $196.21, compared with $191.84 the previous week, which was $4.37 higher.                                     

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $192.21, compared with $190.46 the previous week, making it $1.75 higher.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending April 14 was 867 pounds, which was 5 pounds lower than the previous week but quite a bit heavier than the 848 pounds the same week last year. This makes three weeks in a row that carcass weights for fed cattle are running 19-20 pounds higher than last year.

The Choice-Select spread was $17.42 on Friday, compared with $11.85 the previous week and a $14.10 spread last year.  The spread was helped by the daily Choice rib and loin primals that both jumped about $20 dollars during the week.



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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