The cash trade for fed cattle stayed the course for the week ending July 27. While packers have long held the leverage in the cash market, that may be changing slightly as more green cattle are coming to town and cattle grading upper Choice and Prime are harder to find.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 263,275 head, compared with about 255,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 72,724 head, compared with about 77,000 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 49,000 head for the week. The packers have 226,000 head lined up for August. National cash sales for the week included only about 5,762 head of 15- to 30-day delivery but also had 12,000 head from the previous week.
Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending July 27 was $113.68 per cwt, which was 66 cents higher.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $183.37, 37 cents higher.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $181.83, $1.42 higher.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 654,000 head and that compares with 640,000 head the same week last year. The current estimated year-to-date total is over 245,000 higher than last year but continues to include larger numbers of fed heifers the past three years, which means fewer heifers being kept in the cow herds. That will have a big impact down the road with smaller calf crops.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending July 13 was 865 pounds, which was 4 pounds higher than the previous week and encroaching on the 867 pounds the same week last year. Last year’s carcass weight was steady with the prior week.
The Choice-Select spread was $23.83 on Friday, largely because of greener cattle coming to market and much higher Choice rib primal this year. That compares with $23.91 the previous week and a $6.87 spread last year.