Slaughter numbers will approach year-ago levels this week as beef packers are operating at near-capacity again. The proof is in ever-increasing beef production and wholesale beef prices that have returned from their short-lived orbit of the stratosphere, and cash cattle prices that have taken another huge step backwards.
Cash fed cattle sold from $102 to $108 per cwt., $2 to $9 lower. Dressed sales in Nebraska were $10 to $15 lower at $165 to $172 per cwt.
The Choice boxed beef cutout value closed Friday at $229.96 per cwt., down $31.52 from the previous Friday. Select boxed beef sold at $219.65, down $26.77 from the previous Friday.
August live cattle futures closed down $1.125 at $95.325, hit a five-week low and closed at a technically bearish weekly low close today. For the week, the contract lost 85 cents. August feeder cattle futures ended the day Friday down $1.075 at $131.10, also closing at a bearish weekly low close. For the week, August feeders fell $2.25.
In Thursday’s Supply & Demand Report, USDA raised its 2020 beef production forecast due to a “faster-than-anticipated recovery” in slaughter. But the beef export forecast was also increased amid an expected rise in beef shipments later this year. USDA also raised its 2020 average cash cattle price projection by $4.50 from last month to $108.60, though that would be down $12.18 from last year.
Estimated cattle slaughter for the week ending June 13 was 658,000, down 11,084 from the same week a year ago. Year-to-date cattle slaughter is estimated down 7.4% from last year.
Steers and heifers sold at auction steady to $2 higher in the North Central region, and steady to $4 lower in the South Central and Southeast. Demand was called moderate to good. Auction receipts totaled 160,300 head compared to 207,100 head last week and 134,900 last year.