Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices tilt downward

The cash market for fed cattle was about $2 lower and cash sale numbers were down a little from the previous week.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

April 30, 2019

As we all know, market dynamics are affected by any number of things. For example, the market for grass cattle has been strong lately as beef producers anticipate an excellent spring and summer grazing season.

The cash market for fed cattle has also behaved seasonally for the most part, in spite of the leverage that packers have maintained for most of the year. Looking ahead, those in the market see more fed cattle coming to town as time goes on. That is and will continue to affect the cash market going forward.

Looking at volume numbers for the week ending April 27, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 239,110 head, compared with about 257,427 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 95,404 head, compared with about 112,499 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 91,000 head for the week. Packers had 305,000 head lined up for April and now 183,000 head for May.   

National cash sales for the week include 32,346 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and about 31,758 head previous week. Really big numbers of contracts along with big numbers of 15- to 30-day delivery normally have some negative pressure on the cash prices. 

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending April 27 for the Five Area region was $126.69 per cwt, compared with $128.42 the previous week, down $1.73 for the week.  

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $204.58 per cwt, compared with $207.76 the previous week, which was $3.18 lower.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $202.54 per cwt, compared with $200.52 the previous week, making it $2.02 higher. This is typical for formula prices, as they lag the cash market by a week.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 643,000 head and that compares with 628,000 head the same week last year. During the last six weeks, total harvest is running 106,000 head higher than last year.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending April 13 was 864 pounds, 1 pound lower than the previous week and 3 pounds lower than the 867 pounds noted the same week last year.                            

The Choice-Select spread was $13.58 on Friday compared with $13.16 the previous week and a $17.42 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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