The cash fed cattle trade saw both the price and volume slip as we entered September.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

September 6, 2018

It’s a theme that is recurring far too frequently—the feedlot cattle trades were $1-$2 per cwt lower again for the week ending Sept. 1 with cash sales volume that was quite a bit lower than the week prior.

Is this just a post-holiday letdown or a sign of a tough fall fed cattle market? The Cattle on Feed report indicates we still have plenty of cattle to work through. Yet, beef demand remains remarkably strong, both here and abroad. Time will tell.

The Five Area region, which we watch every week, includes the Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico area, plus Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa-Minnesota. This region normally contributes well over 80% of total fed cattle marketing numbers to the national data.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 235,450 head, compared with about 228,429 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was  66,593 head, compared with about 95,196 head the previous week.

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 30,000 head again this week and packers have about 183,000 head for September.

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $107.18 per cwt, compared with $109.02 the previous week, which was $1.84 lower for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $169.59 per cwt, compared with $172.78 the previous week, which was $3.19 lower.  

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $175.63, compared with $176.51 the previous week, making it 88 cents lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 638,000 head, compared with 623,000 head the same week last year. The current year-to-date total is 578,000 head higher than last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending August 18 was 886 pounds, which was 5 pounds higher than the previous week and 2 pounds higher than the 884 pounds the same week last year. It normally climbs above 900 pounds during the cooler fall weather.

The Choice-Select spread was $8.42 on Friday, compared with $9.50 the previous week. It sank below a dollar (70 cents) 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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