Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices continue to falter

Cash prices for fed cattle were mostly $3-$7 lower on smaller volume, total harvest encouraging.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

June 30, 2020

The cattle market continues to adjust to the changing dynamics both here and abroad. With packing plants running at near capacity and wholesale prices continuing to erode, the beef pipeline is full. Reports indicate great product movement for Father’s Day. The July 4 holiday is this weekend, another bright spot in beef demand.

But the dog days of summer are upon us. If you’re tired of hearing about the burdensome backlog of long-fed cattle, take a deep breath because it may well be 2021 before we work through all those heavyweight cattle. The market will continue to struggle as it finds price levels necessary to keep beef moving.

The Five Area formula sales volume for the week ending June 27 totaled 247,951 head, compared with about 234,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 75,555 head, compared to about  97,000 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 42,000 head for the week. The nationally reported 15- to 30-day delivery was 2,459 head along with 14,198 head the previous week. 

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending June 27 for the Five Area region was $96.21 per cwt, $4.57 lower compared with the previous week. The same week last year, it was $110.13 which was about steady with the week prior. The current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $105.43 for the week.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $154.78 per cwt, which was $5.92 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $167.58, which was $9.18 lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest for the week ending June 27 was 680,000 head, which compares with 670,000 head the same week last year. Running a Saturday shift was the key to getting harvest numbers back to and even above normal.  

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending June 13 was 896 pounds, 4 pounds higher than the previous week and still significantly higher than a year ago, when weights came in at 849 pounds. That was 3 pounds higher compared to the previous week last year.  

The Choice-Select spread was $8.32 on Friday, June 26, compared with $9.81 the previous week and a $24.10 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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