Fed Cattle Recap| Cash trade takes a step back

The cash trade took a breather from last week’s torrid pace with significantly lower volume.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

July 18, 2018

What goes up usually comes down. That was the time-worn scenario for the week ending July 14, as the cash trade for fed cattle took a step back from the torrid market we saw the week prior. The trade saw prices decline $1 to $3 per cwt and in some cases $4 on very limited cash sales volume.

Did the market take a step back to catch its breath? Or was there more to it than that? We’ll know in time, but we’re through the heave supplies that had the market worried in May and June, but the summer slump is still hanging around. Time will tell.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 239,404 head, compared with about 219,854 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was only 50,357 head, compared with about 158,153 head the previous week.

National cash sales this week include only about 9,800 head of 15- to 30-day delivery, but the previous two weeks totaled over 46,000 head that will be utilized now. Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 29,000 head. Packers have about 135,000 head of forward contracts for July.

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $110.50 per cwt, compared with $112.63 the previous week, which was $2.13 lower for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $174.05 per cwt, compared with $178.77 the previous week, which was $4.72 lower.    

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $175.67 per cwt, compared with $174.46 the previous week, making it $1.21 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 650,000 head, compared with 624,000 head the same week last year. The current year-to-date total is up 511,000 head over last year.    

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending June 30 was 865 pounds, which was up 7 pounds from the previous week and significantly higher than the 859 pounds recorded the same week last year. Lower cash sales volume and declining markets normally push weights higher and hot weather is not slowing weight gains down much this year.

The Choice-Select spread was $7.77 on Friday, compared with $9.32 the previous week and a $13.93 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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