Despite the seasonal pressure that fed cattle prices experience, the weekly ebb and flow of the market keeps cattle feeders, packer buyers and traders on their toes.
After several weeks of downward pressure on the cash market for fed cattle, prices were steady to $1 per cwt higher for the week ending September 8. Particularly encouraging is the volume of cash cattle traded, which was quite a bit higher than the past several weeks. The market was no doubt helped by last week’s very big formula box beef sales that will have to be delivered soon.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 214,091 head, compared with about 235,450 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 110,708 head, compared with about 66,593 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 41,000 head this week, which was 11,000 higher than last week and packers have about 187,000 head for September. The national cash sales this week included about 19,000 head of 15-30 day delivery.
Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $107.67 per cwt, compared with $107.18 the previous week, which averaged 49 cents higher for the week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $170.25 per cwt, compared with $169.59 the previous week, 66 cents higher.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $173.41 per cwt, compared with $175.63 the previous week, making it $2.22 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 563,000 head, compared with 565,000 head the same week last year. So far this year, the federally inspected total is 586,000 head higher than last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending August 25 was 889 pounds, which was 3 pounds higher than the previous week and 2 pounds above the 887 pounds the same week last year. Carcass weights normally climbs above 900 pounds soon during the cooler fall weather.
The Choice-Select spread was $9.47 on Friday, compared with $8.42 the previous week and a $1.99 spread last year.