The cash market for fed cattle was mostly $1-$3 lower on smaller cash sales volume and bigger numbers of 15- to 30-day delivery.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

September 9, 2020

With the Labor Day push by retailers over, the air continues to leak out of the balloon that was lifting cash prices for fed cattle. While beef movement over Labor Day appears to be good and the weather was great for grilling, the market is now anticipating heading into fall and winter.

Packers still have the leverage in the cash market as cattle feeders work through the remaining long-fed cattle. The heavy carcass weights from those cattle continue to pump plenty of product into the market. Along with other factors, that will continue to keep cattle feeders scrambling.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 249,059 head for the week ending Sept. 5, compared with about 261,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 68,090 head, compared with about 83,000 head the previous week, but the packers had big numbers of 15- to 30-day delivery to use again.

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 27,000 head for the week. The nationally reported 15- to 30-day delivery was 35,697 head along with 28,562 head the previous week. 

Sept 8 Fed cattle graph.png

Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Sept. 5 was $103.12 per cwt, which was $1.97 lower compared with the previous week. The same week last year, it was $101.73, which was about $4 lower than the previous week as the market worked through the aftermath of the Tyson beef plant fire. The current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $107.35 for the week.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $163.07 per cwt, which was $3.46 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $170.59, which was $1.06 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest on Friday, Sept. 4, was reported at 633,000 head, which compares with 571,000 head the same week last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending August 22 was 910 pounds, which was 1 pound higher compared to the previous week and still running ahead of the 884 pounds the same week last year. Last year’s weight was 3 pounds higher compared with the previous week.  

The Choice-Select spread ended the week at $16.55 on Friday, Sept. 4, compared with $14.54 the previous week and a $25.37 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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