With an already bullish cash fed cattle market, will the Tyson plant reopening change things?

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

November 19, 2019

Cash cattle traded steady to $1 per cwt higher for the week ending Nov. 16, continuing a generally bullish run in fed cattle prices lately. And that was before yesterday’s announcement that the Tyson Finney County plant in Kansas would resume harvest operations beginning the first week of December, with intentions to be fully operational by the first week of January. It plans to resume receiving cattle at the facility the first week of December.

The market seems to have taken the announcement in stride, at least as this is being written. Time will tell on the cash market response. But having a 6,000-head-per-day plant back on line will be a big boost to the cattle complex any way you figure it.

Looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 251,442 head, compared with about 250,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 74,003 head, compared with about 99,000 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 50,000 head for the week. The packers had 210,000 head for November but drop down to 163,000 head lined up for December. National cash sales this week included 28,295 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and 21,000 head from the previous week.  

Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending November 16 was $115.19 per cwt, which was 59 cents higher.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was 181.72, 68 cents higher. 

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $182.73, which was $3.32 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 657,000 head, which compares with 648,000 head the same week last year. The year-to-date total is about 306,000 head higher than last year.

But keep in mind that total beef meat production has not changed much from last year because carcass weights have been lower most of the time along with a higher percent of heifers in the slaughter mix which weigh a lot less.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending November 2 was 903 pounds, 3 pounds lower than the previous week and finally higher than the 899 pounds the same week last year.  Last year’s carcass weight was 4 pounds higher than the previous week.  

The Choice-Select spread was $26.47 on Friday, compared with $25.86 the previous week and a $15.34 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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