The cash market for fed cattle continues its post-fire comeback for the week ending Oct. 5. The question on many minds is whether or not the cash trade will rebound to levels seen prior to the August 9 fire at the Tyson Finney County beef plant.
Given seasonal trends, among other factors at play in the fed cattle market, perhaps not. But as we enter the fourth quarter of the year, fed cattle prices are back to where earlier estimates predicted. Whether or not “normal” has returned to the cash trade, however, remains to be seen.
Looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 245,954 head, compared with about 254,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 76,027 head, compared with about 73,000 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 50,000 head for the week. The packers have 213,000 head lined up for October. National cash sales this week included about 13,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and only 6,000 head from the previous week.
Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Oct. 5 for the Five Area region was $107.30 per cwt, $2.37 higher than the previous week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $169.79, which was $4.50 higher.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $165.24, $3.10 higher.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 639,000 head, which compares with 640,000 head the same week last year. The YTD total is about 265,000 head higher than last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Sept. 21 was 896 pounds, 5 pounds higher than the previous week. This year’s carcass weights have finally caught up with last year, as the same week last year was exactly the same 896 pounds. This is the time of year when we typically see carcass weights increase.
The Choice-Select spread was $25.04 on Friday, compared with $22.72 the previous week and an $11.51 spread last year.