Weekly Cattle Summary

US - The week's cattle market news is discussed including the release of Canada's herd inventory and the US five area live-weight average by Ron Plain and Scott Brown.
calendar icon 11 March 2013
clock icon 3 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

This week, Statistics Canada released their January 1 inventory numbers for livestock. Their hog inventory was down 0.5 per cent compared to a year ago. Their sheep and lamb inventory was up 0.7 per cent.

Canada's total cattle inventory on January 1 was up 0.5 per cent. Beef cow numbers were down 1.0 per cent and milk cow numbers up 0.1 per cent. The number of heifers being kept for breeding herd replacement was up 3.4 per cent. The 2012 calf crop in Canada was 2.5 per cent smaller than the year before.

Thus far in 2013, futures market prices for both cattle and hogs have been trending lower. In part this is due to more meat.

For the third consecutive month, USDA has increased their estimate of 2013 production of red meat and poultry.

The latest number is up 0.8 per cent from their February forecast and up 3.3 per cent from the December prediction.

Today's update for 2013 has production of beef up 0.1 per cent, chicken up 1.7 per cent, and turkey production up 2.5 per cent.

But, USDA reduced expected pork production by 0.2 per cent. They are now predicting combined red meat and poultry production will 0.4 per cent greater than in 2012. In December they were predicting meat and poultry production would be 2.6 per cent lower this year than last.

Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $127.72/cwt, down 12 cents from the prior week, but up 95 cents from a year ago. On a dressed weight basis, steers averaged $203.26/cwt this week, down 4 cents from the week before.

Beef carcass cutout values took a big jump this week. On Friday morning, the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $197.72/cwt, up $10.23 from last Friday and the highest since the end of October. The select carcass cutout was $195.10/cwt, up $9.85 for the week.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 595,000 head, up 5.7 per cent from the week before, but down 5.9 per cent from the same week last year. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on February 23 was 867 pounds, down 3 pounds from the week before, but up 13 pounds from a year ago. This was the 59th consecutive week with steer weights above the year-earlier level.

Feeder cattle prices at this week's Oklahoma City auction rebounded from the previous week's weather disrupted lows. The price ranges for medium and large frame #1 steers were: 400-450# $175-$200.50, 450-500# $174-$191, 500-550# $169-$182.50, 550-600# $163-$173, 600-650# $153.25-$165, 650-700# $146-$157.75, 700-750# $135.75-$145.85, 750-800# $135.75-$142, 800-900# $130.75-$139, and 900-1000# $127-$131.50.

The April fed cattle futures contract ended the week at $127.55, down $2.40 from the week before. The June contract lost $1.73 this week to settle at $123.37 on Friday. August fed cattle ended the week at $124.27/cwt. March feeder cattle futures ended the week $2.58 lower at $138.97/cwt. April feeders closed out the week at $141.35.

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