It appears the cash market for fed cattle is gaining a little strength, emphasis on the word little. However, it’s been six weeks since the Finney County fire and the fed cattle market could well be finding its feet and gaining a bit of traction.
A bullish Cattle on Feed report helps. But seasonal pressures along with continued heavy flow of cattle into other packing plants will likely weigh on the market for a while yet. And don’t forget that packers still have plenty of forward-bought cattle to work with.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 241,408 head for the week ending Sept. 21, compared with about 268,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 81,189 head, compared with about 58,000 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 65,000 head for the week. The packers had 245,000 head for September along with 213,000 head lined up for October. National cash sales this week included about 11,000 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and only 8,000 head from the previous week.
Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Sept. 21 was $101.92 per cwt, $1.85 higher.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $162.47, which was $3.30 higher.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $163.22, which was $3.29 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 658,000 head, which compares with 653,000 head the same week last year. The year to date total is about 256,000 head higher than last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending Sept. 7 was 893 pounds, 9 pounds higher than the previous week. This is the time of year when we expect carcass weights to increase, but they’re still below the 896 pounds notched the same week last year. Last year’s weight jumped 8 pounds from the week prior.
The Choice-Select spread was $25.25 on Friday, compared with $22.28 the previous week and a $10.09 spread last year.