Fed, Feeder Cattle Trade Lower

Negotiated cash fed cattle markets traded lower throughout the week ending Sept. 4. By week’s end, both Texas and Nebraska saw willing sellers at $102 while Kansas traded at $103, or $2 to $4 lower. Early week sales had been at $104. Cattle sold on a dressed basis at $162 to $163. Volumes, however, were light as packer inventory was mostly filled prior to the holiday-shortened week. Packer margins, however, remain north of $350 per head.

Compared to last week, feeder steers and heifers sold $1 to $5 lower at auctions.  Auction receipts totaled 160,800 head, compared to 156,200 last week and 106,800 last year.

Cattle slaughter is estimated at 633,000 head for the week, 21,000 head lower than last week.

Carcass weights continue rising, with Tuesday’s USDA data showing average weights at 885 lbs., 3 lbs. higher that the previous week and 27 lbs. higher than last year. The additional tonnage is expected to remain burden for the cattle markets throughout the fall.

After a sharp recovery to pare losses on Wednesday, CME live cattle futures could not sustain an early Friday rally and retreated. The market was pressured by lower cash bids and midday beef prices. October live cattle futures gained $0.525 to close at $104.45 today but for the week lost $0.45. October feeder cattle futures finished the day up $0.175 at $138.50 and for the week lost $1.675.

Boxed beef was weak at midday on light demand for light to moderate offerings.  Choice cutout traded at $225.85 per cwt., $3.55 lower than last week. Select cutout was reported at $209.30 per cwt., $5.56 lower than last week.

USDA reported 11,400 MT of beef sold for export last week, down 4% from a week earlier. But China did buy 1,800 MT last week and was reported shipping 1,100 MT.