Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices lose ground

The cash market for fed cattle was $2-$4 lower and total cash sale numbers were 35,000 head higher than the previous week.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

June 25, 2019

With the official beginning of summer now behind us, will grilling season kick in gear in earnest? That’s one of many questions hanging over the fed cattle market as the unusual weather this year continues to befuddle market analysts and consumers alike.

The futures market is taking a dim view of things and that has led to uncertainty in the cash market for fed cattle. And what has now become a factor so common that it could be deemed a fundamental is the leverage that packers have in the market. And, of course, there’s the seasonal decline we see in the fed cattle market during the summer months. Pick your reason, but the cash trade was lower for the week ending June 22 on higher cash sale numbers.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 263,463 head, compared with about 250,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 86,671 head, compared with about 51,000 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 57,000 head for the week. The packers have 189,000 head for July. National cash sales included about 26,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and packers had 13,000 head previous week.

June 25 price graph

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted Five Area average cash steer price for the week ending June 22 was $110.48 per cwt, which was $3.14 lower for the week.  

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $180.39, which was $4.09 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $182.30, $2.85 lower.

The June 21 estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 662,000 head and that compares with 658,000 head the same week last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending June 8 was 846 pounds, which was 4 pounds higher than the previous week but still less than the 851 pounds the same week last year. Last year’s carcass weight was steady with the week prior.   

The Choice-Select spread was $20.27 on Friday, compared with $19.47 the previous week and a $15.14 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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