Markets of all stripes have been in a freefall worldwide and the cattle markets are not immune. As the U.S. and the world continues to operate in unchartered territory brought about by COVID-19, everyone in the cattle business is wondering when the fear and panic will stop and markets will stabilize. The unfortunate answer is that nobody knows.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 264,760 head, compared with about 257,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 107,909 head, compared with about 95,000 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 49,000 head for the week. National cash sales this week included 32,478 head of 15- to 30-day delivery along with 21,000 from the previous week.
Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending March 14 was $108.84 per cwt, which was $4.33 lower than the week before. The same week last year, it was $127.14, which was about $1 lower than the week prior.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $174.05 per cwt, which was $6.75 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $183.50, $5.03 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest for the week ending March 14 was 630,000 head, which compares with 608,000 head the same week last year. During the last nine weeks this year, total harvest was about 236,000 head higher than the same nine weeks last year.
The latest average National steer carcass weight for the week ending February 29 was 897 pounds, which was 3 pounds lower than the previous week and compares with 874 pounds the same week last year, which was steady with the week prior.
The Choice-Select spread was $6.16 on Friday, March 13, compared with $4.90 the previous week and a $9.65 spread last year.