Weekly US Cattle Outlook - Fed Cattle Price Up

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 5th October 2007 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 8 October 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

When the dust finally settled the live weighted average fed cattle price last week for the five markets was at $95.50 per cwt, up about $1.30 per cwt from the average of the five markets through Thursday. The carcass weighted average price was up $1.50 per cwt from Thursday and up about $3.40 per cwt from a week earlier.

Even with tight fed cattle supplies, the run-up in prices is being slowed by wholesale beef prices. Beef prices for the week showed Choice beef Friday morning at $145.73 per cwt, down $0.91 from a week earlier, with packers looking at tight margins. The select wholesale beef price on Friday morning was down $2.06 per cwt at $135.82 per cwt compared to a week earlier.

Cow slaughter for the year through the week ending September 15 was up 7.6 percent from last year. However, slaughter for the four-week period ending September 15 was down about 1.5 percent from a year earlier. But, slaughter for this four-week period is still nearly 21 percent above two years earlier. Slaughter in the fall of 2006 for this period was quite large due to dry weather in a substantial part of beef-cow country. We do not believe we are building the breeding herd very much, if any, at the current time.

The male-female slaughter ratio for August 2007 was down from a ratio of 1.287 males per female in August 2006 to 1.22 this year. This compares with a ten-year average of 1.17. The ratio of male to female slaughter supports a breakeven to slight reduction in the cow herd.

Feeder steers and steer calves at Oklahoma City this week were steady to $1.00 per cwt higher than a week earlier. The advance was on six-weights suitable for the feedlot. Feeder heifers were lightly tested but steady. Heifer calves were steady to $3.00 per cwt lower than seven days earlier.

The prices for medium and large frame Number one steers by weight groups were: 450-500 pounds $124-$132 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $116-$128 per cwt, 600-700-pound calves $108-$121 per cwt, 700-750-pound calves $106-$112 per cwt, 600-700-pound yearlings $119-126 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $112-$121.25 and 800-1,000 pounds $104-113.75 per cwt.

Dressed weights of steers and heifers were near a year earlier in August. Average steer weights this August were the same as a year earlier at 845 pounds. Heifer weights this August at 766 pounds were one pound per head lighter than in August of 2006. Weights at a year earlier are a bit of a surprise with current corn prices.

The live fed cattle weighted average price through Thursday for the five-market area at $90.75 per cwt was down $3.45 per cwt from a week earlier. The weighted average carcass price for the five-market area was down $3.80 at $144.20 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 672 thousand head, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier.

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