Even in the face of higher slaughter numbers and more beef production, the cash market for fed cattle traded steady to $1 per cwt higher for the week ending March 11. Estimated total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 587,000 head, compared with 543,000 the same week last year. Year-to-date estimated harvest is 5,798,000 head, which is about 251,000 higher than last year.
The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region, which includes the major feeding areas of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa, was $125.23, compared with $124.76 the previous week, about 50 cents higher.
The cash dressed steer price was $201.56, compared with $199.98 the previous week, for a $1.50 jump.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 106,704 head, compared with about 140,548 the previous week.
The Five Area average formula price was $199.19, compared with $193.31 the previous week. That’s a jump of almost $6 week to week.
Five Area formula sales totaled 145,557 head, compared with about 162,066 the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 47,000 head, compared with 44,000 the previous week. Packers have over 211,000 head of forward contracts available for March along with over 320,000 for April.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Feb. 25 was 3 pounds lower at 878 pounds, compared with 887 pounds last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $8.84 on Friday, about $4.80 higher compared with the previous week and that compares with an $8.93 spread last year.