Fed Cattle Steady, Feeder Cattle Higher

Cash fed cattle traded at $128 with no standoff between packers and feedyards for the first time in several weeks. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Cash fed cattle traded fully steady at $128 live, and $205 dressed. Of note was the fact packers were in the market with those $128 bids on Thursday and early Friday. No late-week standoff. Many feeders believe it was an indication packers needed more cattle than in recent weeks to fill their needs.

Steer carcass weights for the week ending February 23 were reported at 874 pounds, 5 pounds lower than the previous week and 9 pounds lower than a year ago.  Over the last 8 weeks, steer carcass weights have declined 22 pounds.

Feeder cattle and calves sold steady to $5 higher at auctions across the nation. AMS reporters said gains were seen both on calves suitable for grazing and older cattle suitable for direct feedlot placement.

Year-end beef exports were reported at record volume and value for 2018.  US beef exports were pegged at 1.35 million metric tons, up 7 percent from 2017 and 5 percent larger than the previous record in 2011. 

The Cattle-on-Feed for February 1 released March 8 reported on feed 100% of year ago, placements at 95%, and marketings at 103%.

Choice beef cutout closed Friday at $226.13, with the Select at $218.78.