Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices slog higher

The cash market for fed cattle was $1 to $2 higher and the cash sales volume was higher than the previous week.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

September 29, 2020

The cash market for fed cattle continues to fight its way higher. The tension between supply and demand continues but many analysts predict cash prices to continue to improve as we work our way through the fourth quarter. However, a bearish Cattle on Feed report showing higher-than-expected placements in August has many wondering about what will happen in the first and second quarters of 2021. Time will tell.

The Five Area formula sales volume for the week ending Sept. 26 totaled 239,505 head, compared with about 250,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 103,174 head, compared with about 89,000 head the previous week and the packers still have big numbers of 15- to 30-day delivery to use again.

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 44,000 head for the week. The nationally reported 15- to 30-day delivery was 33,119 head along with 20,914 head the previous week. 

Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Sept. 26 was $105.05 per cwt, which was $1.51 higher compared with the previous week. Last year the same week it was $104.93, which was about $3 higher than the previous week. The current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $105.24 for the week.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $164.89 per cwt, which was $1.64 higher. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $164.88, which was 44 cents lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was reported at 651,000 head, which compares with 650,000 head the same week last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending Sept. 12 was 920 pounds, which was 2 pounds higher compared than the previous week. Carcass weights came in at 891 pounds the same week last year, which was 2 pounds lower compared with the previous week.  

The Choice-Select spread ended the week at $12.36 on Friday, Sept. 25, compared with $11.70 the previous week and a $22.72 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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