Is the summer slump in the fed cattle market finally behind us? Perhaps it is as summertime yields and fall makes its colorful appearance. The cash market for fed cattle held steady for the week ending Sept. 16 and did so with much bigger volume.
It’s likely that volume will rule the fed cattle market as we head deeper into fall. Five Area formula sales volume totaled 223,434 head, compared with about 184,805 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 93,503, compared with about 47,431 head the previous week.
The cash sales were mostly 1-14 day delivery with about 4,000 head on a national basis for 15-30 day delivery. Recall our previous discussions that there were 30,000 to 40,000 head of 15-30 day delivery purchases each week for several weeks. But packers have been using those cattle lately.
The estimated weekly total federally-inspected cattle harvest was 642,000 head, compared with 611,000 head the same week last year, which is 31,000 head over last year. The year-to-date total is 1.2 million head over last year.
Nationally reported forward contracted cattle harvest was about 58,000 head, compared with about 45,000 head the previous week. Packers have about 251,000 head of forward contract cattle available for September and 221,000 head for October.
The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $105.88, compared with $104.92 the previous week, 96 cents higher. The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $166.48, compared with $166.13 the previous week, 35 cents higher.
The Five Area average formula price was $167.01, compared with $169.95 the previous week. The Five Area region average formula dairy-bred price, which includes many Holsteins but also other breeds, was $157.54, compared with $160.23 the previous week.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Sept. 2 was 3 pounds higher at 890 pounds, which compares with 898 pounds the same week last year. Last year, we topped out at 918 pounds about the third week of November.
The Choice-Select spread was $5.77 on Friday, compared with $1.99 the previous week and a $7.82 spread last year.
The steer and heifer grading report for the week ending Sept. 8 showed 79.53% Choice and Prime compared with 76.86% last year, so we continue to run well over last year.