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Fed Cattle Recap | Cash trade is “steady as she goes”

The cash market for fed cattle was mostly steady on lighter volume.

Ed Czerwien

October 3, 2018

Somehow, the fed cattle market for the fall of 2018 failed to get the memo that it should behave according to historical norms. So far, the cash market seems to have either ignored those instructions or never received them in the first place.

In short, the cash market for fed cattle has fought off all the news and bearish predictions about what the increased cattle supply would mean to the market. The feedlot cattle trades were mostly steady for the week ending Sept. 29 with cash sales volume that was just a little lower.

Clearly, those bearish sentiments are still a concern. But so far, the remarkable consumer demand both here and worldwide has underpinned the fed cattle market. Will we see a turn in those fortunes? Time will tell.

Looking first at volume, The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 252,834 head, compared with about 241,424 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 106,273 head, compared with about 110,094 head the previous week.                               

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 40,000 head this week and packers have about 168,000 head for October along with 192,000 head for November. National cash sales this week included about 34,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery. 

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region for the week ending Sept. 29 was $110.65 per cwt, compared with $110.61 the previous week, which was only 4 cents higher for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the five Area region was $173.82 per cwt, compared with $174.65 the previous week, which was 83 cents lower. 

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $177.17 per pound, compared with $174.36 the previous week, making it $2.81 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 650,000 head, compared with 648,000 head the same week last year. The current year-to-date total is 631,000 head higher than last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Sept 15 was 896 pounds, which was the same as the previous week and a pound off the 897 pounds recorded the same week last year. Last year, carcass weights leveled out a little bit.  However, heifer carcass weights continued to climb 3 pounds higher at 822 pounds.

The Choice-Select spread was $10.44 on Friday, compared with $10.09 the previous week and an $8.12 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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