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National feeder and stocker cattle report

Auction trading volume on this report just barely topped 250K this week. It is only the second occurrence that large since early February.

Published on May 4, 2018 2:33PM



(Federal-State Market News)

St. Joseph, Mo.

May 4

This week Last week 2017

376,300 296,200 257,400

Compared to last week, steers and heifers traded from 2.00 higher to 2.00 lower nationwide. Ranchers have a very vested interest in the cattle trade every week as they try to gauge when to sell their harvest (calf crop) for the year. It may not seem much, however a 10.00 swing in prices can add up in a hurry; $60 or $70 per head on a 100-head cow herd is a significant amount.

Feeder cattle buyers have purchased replacement feedlot cattle on either side of steady this week as the market is looking for direction from any type of news that could hit the airwaves. Auction trading volume on this report just barely topped 250K this week. It is only the second occurrence that large since early February, indicating cattle producers are willing to market feeders at these prices.

This week, packers were willing to take on some inventory and bought fed cattle on Thursday morning in the Southern Plains at 126.00, 2.00 higher than last week.

Weekly negotiated cash trading volume in Kansas topped 30,000 head for the second week in a row; the last time that occurred was January 2016. In TX/OK/NM, the rolling three week average of negotiated trading volume surpassed 10,000 head for only the second time in a year.

Feedlot managers have been aggressive in their marketing plans in the past few weeks with the sharp disconnect between cash and summer futures prices.

On Thursday CME cattle futures posted a rally with triple-digit gains but June Live Cattle contracts show a gap of near 20.00 less than cash; resisting any sign of strength with traders just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

For the week, the front four Live Cattle contracts closed around 1.00 lower than last Friday’s close, while the front four Feeder Cattle contracts were 1.13 to 1.95 lower for the week.

In addition, August to November Feeders all closed the week within 1.10 of each other. Boxed-beef cut-out values have continued to show strength and climb higher even though the Choice-Select spread neared 20.00 on Monday of this week.

Choice Boxed beef closed the week 6.56 higher than last Friday at 228.30, while the Select cutout was 5.17 higher at 209.49.

The Choice-Select spread on Friday is 18.81, the largest since mid-December. Estimated Slaughter under Federal Inspection was reported at 647,000 for the week, the largest since late September 2017.

These large harvest numbers have not hindered the packers from asking the retailers higher prices for product, with the middle meats leading the price charge ahead of Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Father’s Day.

On Monday the Restaurant Performance Index was released with positive news for the month of March with a monthly value at 101.8 up 0.7 from last month. The RPI increase was driven by improvements in sales and customer traffic. Auction volume this week included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 44 percent heifers.

Northwest Weighted

Direct Feeder Cattle

May 4

This week Last week 2017

1,610 519 8,650

Compared to last week: Feeder steers steady to 1.00 higher. Feeder heifers not well tested. Demand moderate. The feeder supply included 100 percent over 600 lbs and 35 percent heifers. Unless otherwise stated prices are FOB weighting points with 2-3 percent shrink or equivalent and a 5-10 cent slide on calves and a 4-12 cent slide on yearlings from base weights. Current sales are up to 14 days delivery.

Feeder Steers Medium and Large 1

160 Head: Avg Wt 825 lbs, Avg Price 138.00, Current Del

60 Head: Avg Wt 850 lbs, Avg Price 132.00, Current Del

825 Head: Avg Wt 825 lbs, Avg Price 145.00, May-Jun Del

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1

60 Head: Avg Wt 775 lbs, Avg Price 133.50, Current Del

445 Head: Avg Wt 925 lbs, Avg Price 126.50, Current Del

Feeder Heifers Medium and Large 1-2

60 Head: Avg Wt 850 lbs, Avg Price 125.00, Current Del


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