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Fed Cattle Recap | Cash prices regain ground

The cash market for fed cattle was $1 to $3 higher on stronger cash sales volume.

After several weeks of softness, the cash market for fed cattle found a little footing the week ending Sept. 19. The clash of the fundamentals is still very much at play.

For the bears, there are still some long-fed cattle to clean up, carcass weights are still heavy and seasonal demand concerns are on the rise. For the bulls, the hole in placements from last spring looms.

How will the fed cattle market react? It’s a battle of supply and demand and so far, demand seems to be in the lead. And, as the graph below shows, prices gain ground in the fourth quarter. Stay tuned.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 249,941 head for the week ending Sept. 19, compared with about 214,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 88,953 head, compared with about 69,000 head the previous week and the packers still have big numbers of 15- to 30-day delivery to use again.

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 36,000 head for the week. The nationally reported 15- to 30-day delivery was 20,914 head along with 21,121 head the previous week. 

Sept 22 fed price graph.png

Now looking at prices, the Five Area the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending Sept. 19 was $103.54 per cwt, which was $2.33 higher compared with the previous week. Last year the same week it was $101.92 which was about $1.90 higher than the week prior. The current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $104.07.

The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $163.25 per cwt, which was $2.59 higher than the week prior. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $165.32. which was $3.02 lower.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was reported at 645,000 head which compares with 661,000 head the same week last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending Sept. 5 was 918 pounds, 2 pounds higher compared with the previous week and 25 pounds higher than the 893 pounds recorded the same week last year. Last year’s weight was 9 pounds higher compared with the previous week.  

The Choice-Select spread ended the week at $11.70 on Friday, Sept. 18, compared with $12.79 the previous week and a $25.25 spread last year. 


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