Fed Cattle Recap: Cash prices toe the line

The cash market for fed cattle was steady-firm on slightly higher volume.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

October 9, 2018

It’s early October and fall has fallen over much of the country. In some regions, drought-breaking rain has lifted spirits.

Perhaps that brighter outlook on life worked its way into the fed cattle market. For the week ending Oct. 6, the feedlot cattle trades were steady-firm with cash sales volume that was just a little higher.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 241,069 head, compared with about 252,834 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 111,608 head, compared with about 106,273 head the previous week.                               

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 37,000 head this week and packers have about 168,000 head lined up for October along with about 199,000 head for November. The national cash sales this week included about 38,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery along with 34,000 head previous week.

Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region for the week ending Oct. 6 was $110.95 per cwt, compared with $110.65 the previous week, which was 30 cents  higher for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $174.83 per cwt, compared with $173.82 the previous week, which was $1.01 higher.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $176.95 per cwt, compared with $177.17 the previous week, making it 22 cents lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 643,000 head, compared with 636,000 head the same week last year. The year-to-date federally inspected total harvest is 634,000 head higher than last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Sept 22 was 896 pounds, which was the same as the previous week and just a tick lower than the 897 pounds the same week last year. Steer carcass weights leveled out a little bit last year at this time. However, heifer carcass weights continued to climb 3 pounds higher at 825 pounds.

The Choice-Select spread was $11.51 on Friday, compared with $10.44 the previous week and a $9.99 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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