Now that we’re well into April, will typical seasonal patterns hold for the rest of spring and summer? That’s an important question since this year has thrown some mighty nasty sinkers and sliders as beef producers try to bat cleanup.
So far, packers have been able to hold their leverage and have plenty of cattle around them. Whether or not the after-effects of an incredibly nasty winter kick in to shift market leverage still remains to be seen.
Looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 231,157 head for the week ending April 13, compared with about 231,955 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was slightly higher at 68,097 head, compared with about 69,406 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 54,000 head for the week. The packers have 305,000 head for April and have used a little over 100,000 head the first two weeks, so they have almost 100,000 head per week to work through for the last two weeks of April. Also keep in mind that most weeks have included 6,000-8,000 head of imported live fed cattle from Canada compared with 3,000-5,000 head per week earlier last year.
National cash sales included 11,783 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and about 15,855 head the previous week.
Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending April 13 for the Five Area region was $126.19 per cwt, compared with $125.30 the previous week, 89 cents higher for the week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $204.91 per cwt, compared with $204.41 the previous week, which was 50 cents higher.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $202.33 per cwt, compared with $204.90 the previous week, making it $2.57 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 638,000 head and that compares with 611,000 head the same week last year. During the last four weeks, it has been 77,000 head higher than last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending March 30 was 865 pounds, 1 pound lower than the previous week and compared to 872 pounds the same week last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $7.73 on Friday, compared with $6.65 the previous week and a $12.70 spread last year.