Two fundamental things move markets—fear of lower prices and expectation of higher prices. While cattle futures continue to prove the “fear and greed” theory is alive and well, the cash market for fed cattle has reacted with less volatility. But it is reacting.
The feedlot cattle trades for the week ending March 7 were mostly $1 to $2 per cwt lower and cash sales volume was higher than the previous week.
The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 257,970 head, compared with about 252,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 95,227 head, compared with about 77,000 head the previous week.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 47,000 head for the week. The packers have 193,000 head for March along with 234,000 head for April. National cash sales included 21,892 head of 15- to 30-day delivery along with 30,000 from the previous week.
Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week ending March 7 was $113.17 per cwt, which was $1.68 lower than last week. For comparison, last year the same week it was $128.15, which was almost steady than the week prior.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $180.80 per cwt, $3.98 lower. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $188.53, which was $2.84 lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest for the week was 647,000 head, which compares with 607,000 head the same week last year. During the last eight weeks this year, total harvest is running about 214,000 head higher than the same eight weeks last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending Feb. 22 was 900 pounds, 5 pounds lower than the previous week and compared to 874 pounds the same week last year, which was 5 pounds lower than the previous week.
The Choice-Select spread was $4.90 on Friday, March 6, compared with $6.39 the previous week and a $7.35 spread last year.