Fed Cattle Recap | Steady as she goes

The cash market for fed cattle was steady and cash sale numbers were almost exactly the same as the previous week.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

June 4, 2019

It would be interesting to search through the BEEF archives and count how many times someone commented, “This year is different.” That would be an impossibly time-consuming task, but might well point out the truism that most every year is different.

So, at the risk of redundancy, this year is different. The cold, wet spring has affected consumers as well as beef producers, leaving retailers to scratch their heads about when and how much beef featuring they should plan.

That’s just one of many, many factors at play in the 2019 fed cattle market. Stay tuned because…well…this year is different.

Looking first at volume sold for the week ending June 1, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 226,545 head, compared with about 235,735 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 85,667 head, compared with about 85,247 head the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 38,000 head for the week. The packers have 253,000 head committed for June. National cash sales for the week included 16,900 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and 23,000 head the previous week.

June 4 graph.png

Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending June 1 was $115.74 per cwt, which was only 4 cents lower for the week.  

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $186.08 which was $1.29 higher.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $186.91, which was $4.19 lower. The Five Area region is comprised of Texas-Oklahoma-New Mexico; Kansas; Nebraska; Colorado; and Iowa-Minnesota. These states market around 80% of the nation’s fed cattle.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 582,000 head for the week. That compares with 585,000 head the same week last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending May 18 was 849 pounds, 3 pounds lower than the previous week and 3 pounds higher than the 846 pounds the same week last year. Last year’s weight was the lowest during the year. 

The Choice-Select spread was $15.52 on Friday, compared with $13.17 the previous week and a $22.73 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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