Fed Cattle Recap | Price slide moderates

Cash prices for fed cattle were mostly $1-$2 lower and the cash sales volume was higher than the previous week with over 110,000 head.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

July 7, 2020

While the fireworks were absent from the fed cattle market for the week ending July 4, there was at least a little relief from the ongoing slide in cash cattle prices. Cash bids were $1 to $2 lower on significantly higher volume for the week.

Wholesale prices continue to search for a bottom and have cut into packer margins. Retailers missed being able to strongly feature beef for Independence Day, given that those purchases were made at higher wholesale prices several weeks ago. But with wholesale prices now trading at normal levels, retailers will be able to feature beef at much better prices in the weeks ahead.

Looking first at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 221,795 head for the week ending July 4, compared with about 248,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 110,193 head, compared with about 75,000 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 40,000 head for the week. The nationally reported 15- to 30-day delivery was 8,810 head along with 2,459 head the previous week. 

July 4 graph.png

Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for $94.87 per cwt, which was $1.34 lower compared to the previous week. Last year the same week it was $111.24, which was $1 higher than the week prior. The current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $99.82.

As a reminder, the Five Area region consists of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico; Kansas; Nebraska; Colorado; and Iowa-Minnesota. These states account for around 80% of the fed cattle market weekly.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $153.84 per cwt, which was $94 cents lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $160.68, which was $6.90 lower.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending June 20 was 890 pounds, 6 pounds lower than the previous week but still significantly higher than the 854 pounds the same week last year. Last year’s weight was 5 pounds higher compared to the previous week.  

The Choice-Select spread ended the week at $6.68 on Thursday, July 3, compared to $8.32 the previous week and a $22.87 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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