The push and pull between cattle feeders and packers continues as the first month of the year winds down. That push and pull has and always will be at the center of the cash market and whichever side has the most leverage will win out.
For the week ending Jan. 26, it might be close to a draw. Cash prices for fed cattle were a little lower on larger volume. With Old Man Winter in charge throughout much of the cattle feeding region, moving cattle out of muddy pens is a help
Looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 238,780 head, compared with about 233,080 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 90,768 head, compared with about 55,459 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 36,000 head this week and the packers have about 166,000 head for February. The national cash sales this week included 28,786 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and 12,329 head previous week.
Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $123.29 per cwt, compared with $123.98 the previous week, 69 cents lower for the week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $197.22 per cwt, compared with $196.99 the previous week, which was 23 cents higher.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $199.01 per cwt, compared with $197.67 the previous week, making it $1.34 higher.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 610,000 head and that compares with 594,000 head the same week last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $4.98 on Friday, compared with $3.70 the previous week and a $ 5.00 spread last year.