Feeder Cattle Prices Uneven, Fed Cattle Standoff

After higher prices to start the new year, feeder cattle sold uneven at auction this week amid heavy supplies. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Steers and heifers sold at auction this week from $4 lower to $1 higher, according to Agricultural Marketing Service reporters. This week’s total receipts were the largest since July of 2018 and were 50,000 head higher than the first marketing week of last year.

Fed cattle markets were mostly at a standstill late Friday as cattle feeders sought higher money, with asking prices at $126 to $127 live, and $200 to $202 dressed. AMS reported only a few cattle traded in the Northern Plains $2 higher at $197 dressed. Last week feedyard saw closeouts show average profits of $77 per head, so any price increase could improve those closeouts. Packer margins are trending lower, though they remain historically large at more than $100 per head.

The Choice beef cutout traded at $212.46, down $2.05 from last Friday, and Select closed $1.39 lower at $206.27. The choice-Select spread was $6.19 per cwt.

USDA’s national cutter cow carcass cutout closed Friday at $158.52 per cwt.