Fed Cattle Recap | What goes up eventually comes down

The cash market for fed cattle finally took a breather, closing $6 to $8 per cwt lower the week ending May 13.

Ed Czerwien, Market Reporter

May 16, 2017

2 Min Read
Fed Cattle Recap | What goes up eventually comes down

It seems that cattle feeders have been a conflicted bunch the past few months, welcoming the unexpected and amazing increase in prices, all the while wondering how long the joy ride would last.

Could it be over? After all, cash prices for fed cattle ended the week of May 13 $6 to $8 per cwt lower than the week before. Or is the market merely taking a breather? Only time will tell.

Click on the red arrow below for the complete audio report.

The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa, was $137.28, compared with $144.60 the previous week, for a drop of $7.32. 

The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $220.33, compared with $229.80 the previous week, for a $9.47 plunge.

Estimated total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 612,000 head, compared with 598,000 the same week last year. That’s only 14,000 head over last year and the closest it has been in a long time. 

The five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 79,512 head, compared with about 140,937 the previous week. 

The Five Area average formula price was $224.62, compared with $213.87 the previous week, $10.75 higher. Five Area formula sales totaled 161,712 head, compared with about 176,308 the previous week. 

Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 72,000 head, compared with 34,000 the previous week. Packers have more than 244,000 head of forward contracts available for May and 288,000 for June.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending April 29 was 2 pounds lower at 847 pounds, compared with 868 pounds last year, so we continue to run well below last year.                            

The Choice-Select spread was $22.18 on Friday, almost $3.00 higher compared to the previous week. That compares with a $12.61 spread last year. This is the time of the year that the spread widens because of tremendous demand for Choice steaks.



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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