Last week, we reported that the cash market for fed cattle caught a gear when the trade was $5 to $8 per cwt higher than the week before. The road show didn’t slow down any for the week ending Nov. 4, where cattle feeders tacked another $4 to $7 on to the market.
But we all know that what goes up must come down. Given the strong fundamentals underlying the fed cattle market—strong consumer demand, growing exports and lighter carcass weights among them—the answer to when prices will hit the brakes remains unclear.
Five Area formula sales volume totaled 182,149 head, compared with about 205,928 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 117,538 head, compared with about 110,446 head the previous week. The Five Area region includes the major feeding areas of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 642,000 head, compared with 611,000 head the same week last year, 31,000 head over last year. The year to date total is now 1.4 million head higher than last year.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 48,000 head, compared to about 48,000 head the previous week. The packers have about 244,000 head of forward contracts available for November.
The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $123.53 per cwt, compared with $116.98 the previous week, which was $6.55 higher. The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $191.99, compared with $181.54 the previous week, $10.45 higher.
The Five Area average formula price was $181.36, compared with $177.16 the previous week, making it $4.20 higher
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Oct. 21 was 899 pounds, 3 pounds higher than last week but significantly less than 915 pounds the same week last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $15.66 on Friday, compared with $10.82 the previous week and $15.67 last year.