Fed Cattle Recap | Packers pay up

The cash market for fed cattle improved as the week progressed, ranging from $1 to $1.20 on higher cash sales volume.


Ed Czerwien, BEEF Magazine 

May 19, 2020


Packers stepped up for the week ending May 16, paying more for fed cattle and moving more volume. Packing plants remain COVID-bound and fed cattle continue to back up in feedlots. However, packers are slowly beginning to increase production and we should see higher harvest figures in the weeks to come.


It will take time, perhaps a lot of time, before the backlog of fed cattle is reduced. Will packers continue to provide incentive for feeders to keep the chain moving? Only time will tell.


The Five Area formula sales volume totaled 134,421 head for the week ending May 16, compared with about 146,000 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 85,933 head, compared with about 55,000 head the previous week.


Now looking at prices, the Five Area weekly weighted average cash steer price for the week was $112.31 per cwt, which was $7.81 higher compared with the previous week. Last year the same week it was $116.65, which was about $4 lower than the previous week. However, the current Five Area weighted average live formula price was $114.07 for the week.


The weighted average cash dressed steer price was $179.65 per cwt, which was $19.80 higher. The Five Area weighted average formula price was $166.21, $5.05 higher


The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest for the week ending May 16 was 499,000 head, which compares with 662,000 head the same week last year, so six weeks of well over 100,000 to 200,000 head lower each week than last year but increasing each week lately...


more, including audio report [3:42 min.]