Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices gain steam

The cash trade for fed cattle gained $3 for the week ending Sept. 15.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

September 18, 2018

Continued strong beef demand coupled with continued strong packer margins has kept the cash market for fed cattle humming along nicely. Packers have a lot of incentive to keep their coolers full and that’s being reflected in the cash market.

But we can’t forget there’s an ample supply of cattle on feed. So far, fortunately, packers and feeders have worked aggressively to keep cattle and beef moving through the marketing chain while limiting the downside seasonal price risk.

The feedlot cattle trades were mostly $3 per cwt higher, in spite of a cash sales volume that was just a little lower than last week. However, formula sales jumped quite a bit.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 255,159 head, compared with about 214,091 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 101,335 head, compared with about 110,708 head the previous week.                               

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 45,000 head this week and packers have about 187,000 head for the rest of September. National cash sales this week included about 15,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery. 

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $110.66 per cwt, compared with $107.67 the previous week, which was $2.99 higher for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $174.05, compared with $170.25 the previous week, for a  $3.80 gain. 

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $171.58 per cwt, compared with $173.41 the previous week, making it $1.83 lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 652,000 head, compared with 646,000 head the same week last year. So far this year, total slaughter is 597,000 head higher than last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Sept. 1 was 888, pounds, 1 pound lower than the previous week and 2 pounds lower than 890 pounds the same week last year. 

The Choice-Select spread was $7.80 on Friday, compared with $9.47 the previous week and a $5.57 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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