US cattle prices raised on firm demand - USDA

Fed steer prices projected at $183.00 per cwt
calendar icon 1 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

In February, the weighted-average price for US feeder steers weighing 750–800 pounds at the Oklahoma City National Stockyards was $241.37 per hundredweight (cwt), a $15.38 increase from January and about $57 above February 2023, according to the USDA's March Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook report

The feeder steer price reported on March 11 reached $249.15 per cwt, almost $62 above the same week last year. 

The outlook for feeder calf prices is improved from lower projected market-year average corn prices and higher projected fed cattle prices from last month, as well as recent supporting price data. These factors support raising the forecast for each quarter by $5 for an annual average feeder steer price of $254.00 per cwt, a projected increase of 16% from last year.

The February average price for fed steers in the 5-area marketing region3 was $181.10 per cwt, $6.65 higher than January and more than $20 above February 2023. For the week ending March 10th, prices averaged $185.12 per cwt, up almost $20 from the same week last year.

Fed cattle carcass weights are heavier than a year ago, which is expected to persist for the remainder of the year. Given the price of wholesale boxed beef, packers have less incentive to pay even higher prices to pull cattle out of feedlots at a quicker pace. 

As forecast, packers are anticipated to pay more for fed cattle as the year progresses, when market-ready supplies tighten further. Based on recent price data, fed steer prices are raised across the quarters for a 2024 projection of $183.00 per cwt.

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