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Weekly US Cattle Outlook: Live Fed Cattle Prices Up

30 March 2009
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 30th March 2009 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.

When trade was complete last week, live fed cattle weighted average prices for the 5-market area were up $2.19 per cwt from a week earlier. Through Thursday, these prices were up by $1.22 per cwt.

Wholesale beef for Choice beef on Friday, March 20 was at $133.93 per cwt but increased by $2.16 per cwt on Monday, March 23.

The March 1 Cattle on Feed report came in a little more positive than the trade estimates. All of the live cattle futures contracts were up on Monday but by less than $1 per cwt.

The on-feed number March 1 was down by 5.3 per cent, and the trade estimate was for a decline of 4.7 per cent. Placed-on-feed during February was down 2.6 per cent, and the trade estimate was for an increase of 1.3 per cent from a year earlier. Fed marketings during February were down 5.3 per cent, which was the same as the trade estimate.

The weights of the cattle placed on feed during February showed the lightest and heaviest weights down. The under-600-pounds placements were down 3.3 per cent, 600-699-pounds showed no change, 700-799-pounds were up 0.9 per cent, and the 800-pounds-and-heavier were down 8.4 per cent from a year earlier.

Surprisingly as it may be, our beef demand index for December-February was up 3.4 per cent from a year earlier. We do not have the data to accurately separate beef demand for steaks and roasts from hamburger. We believe the strong demand is for hamburger. Cull-cow slaughter was up as well as imported beef for January. Most of the weakness in beef demand is at the white-tablecloth restaurants.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City this week were steady to $2 per cwt higher with the exception to those weighing over 900-pounds at $1 per cwt lower. Stocker cattle and calves were mostly $1-3 per cwt higher than seven days earlier.

The prices by weight group for medium- and large-frame Number One steers were: 400-500 pounds $110.00-115 per cwt, 500-600 pounds 105.75-116 per cwt, 600-700 pounds $97-108.75 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $93.50-105 per cwt and 800-1,000 pounds $79-87.50 per cwt.

Wholesale beef prices Friday morning showed Choice beef at $133.30 per cwt, up $0.37 per cwt from a week earlier. Select beef at $134.13 per cwt was up $1.38 per cwt from seven days earlier.

The live weighted average prices for fed cattle for the 5-market area at $83.05 per cwt were up $1.14 per cwt from a week earlier through Thursday. The weighted average negotiated carcass prices for the 5-market area through Thursday at $132.35 per cwt were down $0.10 per cwt from last week.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 600 thousand head, down 2.8 per cent from 12 months earlier.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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