Cattle Outlook: Beef Cow Slaughter Up 20 Per Cent

US - The severe drought in the southern plains is pushing a lot of cows to slaughter and calves into feed yards, writes Ron Plain, University of Missouri.
calendar icon 30 August 2011
clock icon 3 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Over the last five weeks beef cow slaughter is up over 20 per cent compared to a year ago. Year-to-date, both beef cow and daily cow slaughter is up compared to the same period in 2010.

USDA’s August cattle on feed report said the number of cattle placed on feed during July was up 22.5 per cent from a year ago and the largest for any July since this data series began in 1996. Placements of calves weighing less than 600 pounds were up over 50%. Total on feed number on 1 August was up 7.6 per cent from a year ago and the highest for that date since 2006.

Last month, the average price of choice beef at retail was $4.781 per pound. That is 2.8 cents lower than in June and 9.1 cents lower than in May.

Normally July has the lowest retail beef prices of the summer. July grocery store prices for beef were 33.7 cents higher than in July 2010. Our demand calculations indicate domestic demand for beef is slightly above year-ago.

The amount of beef in cold storage at the end of July was up 7.5 per cent compared to the year before. Frozen stocks of pork, chicken and turkey were also up.

USDA says that the five market average live price for slaughter steers in July was $111/cwt, up $2.80 from June and $13 higher than July 2010.

Boxed beef prices were lower this week. Friday morning the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $186.62/cwt, down 24 cents from last week. The select carcass cutout was down $3.42 from the previous Friday to $180.42 per hundred pounds of carcase weight.

The 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold through Thursday of this week on a live weight basis was $112.95/cwt, down $1.09 from last week. Steers sold on a dressed weight basis this week averaged $180.12/cwt, $3.09 lower than the week before.

This week’s cattle slaughter totaled 669,000 head, up 1.8 per cent from the week before but down two per cent compared to the same week last year. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending 13 August was 846 pounds, unchanged from the week before, six pounds heavier than for the same week in 2010, and above year-earlier for the 36th consecutive week.

Cash bids for feeder cattle around the country this week ranged from seven dollars lower to three dollars higher than the week before.

Oklahoma City auction prices this week were two to six dollars lower with price ranges for medium and large frame #1 steers: 400-450# $148-$157.50, 450-500# $142.50-$151.50, 500-550# $138-$150, 550-600# $130-$146, 600-650# $127-$141, 650-700# $129.50-$139.75, 700-750# $132.75-$138, 750-800# $128-$133, 800-900# $126-$130 and 900-1000# one group of 39 head at $120/cwt.

The August fed cattle futures contract ended the week at $114.30/cwt, the same as last week’s close. October lost 30 cents to end the week at $115.20/cwt. December live cattle settled at $117.10/cwt, down 22 cents from the previous Friday.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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