Baby, it’s cold outside. That’s been the ongoing refrain for much of the nation this winter and more bad weather is slamming the country this week.
For cattle feeders, particularly in the Northern Plains and Midwest, muddy pens and tough conditions have plagued the industry and there is incentive to move cattle out. Fed cattle supplies are tight, for the moment at least, and packers need to keep the chains moving.
However, for the week ending Feb. 9, the cash market saw slightly lower volume on slightly higher prices. The cat and mouse games continue.
Looking at the volume of fed cattle moved in the cash market, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 235,143 head, compared with about 245,209 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 76,000 head, compared with about 84,796 head the previous week.
The Five Area region is comprised of Texas-Oklahoma-New Mexico; Kansas; Nebraska; Colorado; and Iowa-Minnesota. This region accounts for around 80% of the fed cattle marketed in the nation.
Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 33,000 head for the week and the packers have about 167,000 head for February. National cash sales included 9,800 head of 15- to 30-day delivery and 8,471 head previous week.
Now looking at prices, the weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $124.98 per cwt, compared with $123.87 the previous week, which was $1.11 higher for the week.
The weighted average cash dressed steer price for the Five Area region was $199.88 per cwt, compared with $198.34 the previous week, for a $1.54 bounce.
The Five Area weighted average formula price was $197.79 per cwt, compared with $198.07 the previous week, making it 28 cents lower.
The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 620,000 head and that compares with 589,000 head the same week last year.
The latest average national steer carcass weight for the week ending Dec. 29 was 896 pounds, which was up 5 pounds from the previous week and down from 902 pounds the same week last year. Cold weather and storms kept the weights below last year.
The Choice-Select spread was $4.18 on Friday, compared with $1.11 the previous week and a $3.78 spread last year.