Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices continue to climb

Cash prices for fed cattle bump higher in late-week trade.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

December 11, 2018

While the calf run hit a speed bump last week, not in volume but in price, the fed cattle market improved again for the week ending Dec. 8, with the late week trades about $1 higher in the Five Area region. 

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 211,553 head, compared with about 236,238 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 105,959 head, compared with about 103,562 head the previous week.  

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 41,000 head this week and packers have about 161,000 head for December. The national cash sales this week included 41,378 head of 15- to 30-day delivery along with 28,215 head the previous week. The three week total is now about 100,000 head for 15- to 30-day delivery.

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $118.11 per cwt, compared with $117.10 the previous week, which was $1.01 higher for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $185.99 per cwt, compared with $183.38 the previous week which was $2.61 higher.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $187.48 per cwt, compared with 184.61 the previous week, making it $2.87 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 667,000 head and that compares with 639,000 head the same week last year. The current year-to-date total is approximately 723,000 head higher than last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Nov. 24 was 902 pounds, which was 2 pounds higher from the previous week and  2 pounds less than the 904 pounds the same week last year. 

The Choice-Select spread was $13.79 on Friday, compared with $14.20 the previous week and $19.62 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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