Weekly Cattle Summary: Cattle on Feed Report Tells of Lowest August Placements Since Current Records Began

US - The September cattle on feed report said placements into large feedlots during August were 10 per cent lower than for any August since USDA began the current data series in 1996, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri.
calendar icon 30 September 2013
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

August marketings were down 3.7 per cent due to one fewer slaughter day. Steer and heifer slaughter during August was down 5.4 per cent compared to 12 months earlier. The number of cattle on feed at the start of September was down 7.2 per cent from a year ago and the lowest for any September since 2003.

A fire on Thursday has closed the Creekstone slaughter plant in Arkansas City, Kansas for an indefinite period.

The crop condition report for September 22 said 55 per cent of corn acres were in good or excellent condition. That was up 2 percentage points from the month before and up 31 points from a year ago. The pasture condition report rated 36 per cent of U.S. pasture acres as poor or very poor. That was 1 percentage point less than the week before and 20 points less than a year ago.

USDA’s September Cold Storage report said stocks of frozen beef on August 31 were down 6.2 per cent from a month earlier, but up 0.2 per cent from a year ago. Beef stocks are the lowest of any month since November 2012.

Fed cattle prices were higher this week with very light sales volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $124.31/cwt, up $1.61 from last week and up $1.85 from the same week last year. Steers sold on a dressed basis averaged $195.24/cwt this week. That is $4.25 higher than a year ago.

This morning, the boxed beef cutout value for choice carcasses was $192.85/cwt, up 40 cents from the previous Friday and up $3.55 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout is at $176.91/cwt, up 80 cents for the week, but down $1.34 from the same day last year.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 632,000 head, down 0.2 per cent from last week and down 2.6 per cent from a year ago. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on September 14 was 867 pounds, down 5 pounds from the week before and down 2 pounds from a year ago.

Oklahoma City feeder cattle auction prices this week were steady to $2 higher for steers and heifers with prices for medium and large frame #1 steers: 400-450# $186-$197, 450-500# $192-$197, 500-550# $169-$192.50, 550-600# $155-$168.50, 600-650# $150-$171, 650-700# $149.50-$172, 700-750# $150-$167, 750-800# $153.50-$161.50, 800-900# $150.25-$158.50, and 900-1000# $141-$149.75/cwt.

The October live cattle futures contract closed at $128.25/cwt today, up $2.30 from last week’s close. December fed cattle settled at $132.07, up $2.32 for the week.

The October feeder cattle futures contract ended the week at $164.12/cwt, up $3.90 from the previous Friday. November feeders settled at $164.92, up $4.17 for the week.

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