As Labor Day draws ever nearer, retailers and packers are filling up the corners with inventory. Labor Day, of course, is the last big grilling holiday of summer and with the excellent beef demand that we’ve enjoyed this year, consumers should keep beef from burgers to steaks moving off the shelves.
That’s the signal that the negotiated trade for fed cattle gave for the week ending August 18. Cattle feeders likely hoped for a better market, but cash cattle traded $1 per cwt lower again as we’re approaching the end of the Labor Day retail sales delivery period. However, cash sales volume improved to over 100,000 head.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 101,210 head, compared with about 92,824 head the previous week. The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 243,928 head, compared with about 246,466 the previous week.
National cash sales this week included about 7,100 head of 15-to 30-day delivery, which was down about 10,000 head from the previous week. Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 33,000 head and packers have about 156,000 head for August along with 183,000 head for September.
Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $109.91 per cwt, compared with $110.98 the previous week, which was $1.07 lower for the week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $173.10 per cwt, compared with $175.73 the previous week, which was $2.63 lower.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $179.63 per cwt, compared with $179.70 the previous week, making it 7 cents lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 660,000 head, compared with 635,000 head the same week last year. The current year-to-date total continues to climb higher than last year and now is up 575,000 head year over year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending August 4 was 880 pounds, which was 6 pounds higher than the previous week but even with the 880 pounds recorded the same week last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $10.46 on Friday, compared with $8.84 the previous week and a $1.79 spread last year. The better spread this year is no doubt helped by the daily Choice rib primal that has been increasing in price lately and jumped $37 since mid-July.