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Fed Cattle Recap | Prices head higher

Cash fed cattle prices were comfortably higher on slightly less volume.

Cash prices for fed cattle continued their upward trajectory for the week ending December 1. While trade languished most of the week, the market finally caught a gear late in the week with trades from $116 to 118.50 per cwt in most of the Five Area region. 

The cash sales volume dropped some but still had very good numbers of 15- to 30-day delivery cash sales from the previous weeks for packers to draw from.

The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 236,238 head, compared with about 212,915 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 103,562 head, compared with about 119,289 head the previous week.  

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 38,000 head and packers have about 161,000 head lined up for December.  The national cash sales this week included 28,215 head of 15- to 30-day delivery along with 30,958 head previous week.

Now looking at the prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $117.10 per cwt, compared with $115.39 the previous week, which was $1.71 higher for the week. 

The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $183.38 per cwt, compared with $181.89 the previous week, which was $1.49 higher.

The Five Area weighted average formula price was $184.61 per cwt,  compared with $182.48 the previous week, making it $2.13 higher.

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 640,000 head and that compares with 643,000 head the same week last year. Year-to-date, current federally inspected total harvest is approximately 700,000 head higher than last year. 

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending November 17 was 900 pounds, which was 4 pounds lower than the previous week and 2 pounds lower than the 902 pounds the same week last year.

The Choice-Select spread was $14.20 on Friday, compared with $15.34 the previous week and a $22.38 spread last year.  


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