Fed Cattle Recap | Have we hit bottom?

The cash market for fed cattle was mostly $1-2 lower on smaller volume as packers dipped into forward supplies.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

September 17, 2019

Have we hit bottom in the cash market for fed cattle? Some think so and it can’t come soon enough.

The market will have plenty to work through in the fourth quarter. Tyson’s CEO announced recently that the fire-damaged Finney County plant should be running again by the end of the year or early January. That’s good news, but there are lots of cattle to process between now and then.

Looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 268,686 head for the week ending Sept. 14, compared to about 248,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 58,196 head, compared to about 71,000 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 61,000 head for the week. The packers have 245,000 head for September along with 212,000 head for October. National cash sales for the week included about 8,500 head of 15- to 30-day delivery, but the 34,000 head from the previous two weeks are no doubt being used now. 

Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Sept. 14 was 1$00.07 per cwt, which was $1.66 lower than the week prior.     

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $159.17, $6.66 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $166.51, $5.17 lower.  

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 629,000 head, which compares with 656,000 head the same week last year. The year-to-date total is about 245,000 head higher than last year.

The latest average National steer carcass weight for week ending August 30 was 884 pounds, the same as the previous week and still below 888 pounds the same week last year. Last year’s carcass weight was 1 pou9nd lower than the week prior. 

The Choice-Select spread was $22.28 on Friday, compared with $25.37 the previous week and a $7.80 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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