Up and up she goes and where the top is, nobody knows. The fed cattle market has surprised just about everybody here of late. Just when traders think it has hit its high for the year, another rabbit jumps out of the hat and the market heads higher once again.
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What’s more, the market gains ground with more cattle numbers than a year ago. Estimated total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 624,000 head for the week ending April 29, compared with 590,000 the same week last year. Once again, that’s 34,000 head over last year. The monthly estimated total is 120,000 head over last year, so we’re definitely not short of numbers now.
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 $136.22 per cwt, compared with $131.60 the previous week, for a jump of $4.62.
The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $216.45, compared with $209.23 the previous week, about $7.22 higher.
The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 133,819 head, compared to about 125,732 the previous week.
The Five Area average formula price was $207.48, compared with $203.03 the previous week for an increase of $4.45. Five Area formula sales totaled 167,359, compared with about 168,790 the previous week. The total national formula cattle harvest was 236,906 head for the week.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 89,000 head, compared with 83,000 head the previous week. Packers have more than 240,000 head of forward contracts available for May along with some April carryover and 241,000 head for June.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending April 15 was 4 pounds lower at 848 pounds, compared with 878 pounds last year. The five year average is 855 pounds.
The Choice-Select spread was $14.10 on Friday, about 83 cents higher compared with the previous week and that compares with a $9.18 spread last year.