The finished cattle cash trade was $4 to $5 per cwt higher for the week ending Feb. 25, continuing its bull run. Is the cash market for fed cattle, once thought to be on its death bed, showing a miraculous recovery? It’s too soon to tell, but cattle feeders will happily take whatever the market will offer, at least for the moment.
The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas (Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa) was $124.40, compared with 119.59 the previous week, which was about $4.81 higher.
For carcasses on the rail, the cash dressed steer price was $195.90, compared with $189.91 the previous week, for a $6 jump.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 125,368, compared with about 108,593 the previous week. Five Area average formula price was $190.97, compared with $190.61 the previous week, for an increase of about 36 cents. Five Area formula sales totaled 142,022, compared with about 158,000 the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvested was about 68,000, compared with 62,000 the previous week. Packers had over 260,000 head of forward contracts available for February and over 207,000 head for March along with over 306,000 for April.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Feb. 18 was 8 pounds lower at 879 pounds, compared with 891 pounds last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $3.48 on Friday, which was about $2.25 higher compared to the previous week. That compares to a $5.68 spread last year. The grilling season rally has started and the daily spot Choice rib jumped $18 in the past six working days, widening the spread and pushing the spot Choice cutout higher.