Fed Cattle Recap | Cash trade back peddles following a big week

After a hot trade the week prior, the cash market for fed cattle cooled down.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

August 14, 2018

In spite of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, the last big grilling weekend of the summer, the ebb and flow of the cash market for fed cattle continues.

Last week, packers stepped into the cash market big time late in the week as they looked to keep the kill floor running and coolers full. For the week ending August 11, packers took a step back from the cash market and trade cooled off.

The feedlot cattle trades were $1 to $3 lower with cash sales volume that dropped almost 50,000 head compared to the previous week. 

Looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 246,466 head, compared with about 238,650 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 92,824 head, compared with about 142,100 head the previous week.

The national cash sales this week included about 17,400 head of 15- to 30-day delivery, which is up about 1,000 head from the previous week. Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 36,000 head, which was up 10,000 from the previous week. Packers have about 156,000 head for August along with 183,000 head for September.

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $110.98, compared with $112.98 the previous week, a full $2.00 lower for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $175.73 per cwt, compared with $177.96 the previous week, which was $2.23 lower.  

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $179.70, compared with $179.89 the previous week, making it 19 cents lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 645,000 head, compared with 636,000 head the same week last year. Presently, the current Year-to-date total is running 551,000 head higher than last year.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending July 28 was 874 pounds, 2 pounds higher than the previous week and a pound less than the 875 pounds the same week last year. 

The Choice-Select spread was $8.84 on Friday, compared with $7.66 the previous week and a $3.48 spread last year. This week’s spread was no doubt helped by the daily Choice rib primal that has jumped $16 in the past three weeks.


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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