While the novel coronavirus continues to spread and many markets are taking the growing death toll with a negative tone, the cash market for fed cattle continues to roll on.
The feedlot cattle trades for the week ending Feb. 8 were mostly $1 per cwt lower and cash sales volume dropped lower than the previous week. But that may be because the packers probably still had part of those 50,000 head of the previous 15- to 30-day sales to use yet.
But don’t lose sight of the coronavirus, especially its potential to damage world economies. With travel restricted or shut off to China, the economic ripples are yet to be fully felt. And we can never forget the terrible human toll the outbreak is having.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 249,191 head for the week, compared with about 249,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 54,743 head, compared with about 67,000 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 43,000 head for the week. The packers have 178,000 head lined up for February. National cash sales for the week included 11,052 head of 15- to 30-day delivery, along with 13,000 from the previous week. But the packers still had some of those earlier 50,000 head available as well.
Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Feb. 8 was $121.05 per cwt, which was 99 cents lower than the week prior. Last year the same week it was $124.98, which was about $1 higher than the week before.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $193.18 per cwt, which was $1.54 lower.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was 1$97.38 per cwt, which was $1.86 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 631,000 head, which compares with 625,000 head the same week last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending Jan. 25 was 901 pounds, 6 pounds lower than the previous week. The same week last year, carcasses came in at 888 pounds, 2 pounds higher than the week before.
The Choice-Select spread was $6.23 on Friday, Feb. 7, compared with $2.34 the previous week and a $4.18 spread last year.