Cattle Outlook: Placements Up, Not as Much as Marketings

(Wyatt Bechtel)

By: Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri Extension

USDA's December Cattle on Feed report said there were 1.4% fewer cattle in large feedlots on December 1 than a year ago. It said placements were up 15% and marketings were up 16.6% in November. Placements were the highest for any November since 2013. Marketings were the highest for any November since 2006.

These numbers were in line with the pre-release trade forecast which predicted placements were up 13.3% and marketings were up 16.5% year-over-year. The trade expected the number on feed December 1 to be down 1.4% from last year. November steer and heifer slaughter was up 17.5% year-over-year. The calculated average placement weights in November were slightly higher than a year ago. The increased placements were mostly in the 600-800 pound categories.

The Livestock Marketing Information Center has estimated the average loss for closeouts at southern plains feedlots was $91.06 per head in November. That compares to a loss of $203.71/head the month before and a loss of $490.87/head a year ago.

Fed cattle prices were higher this week on heavy sales volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $115.14/cwt, up $4.91 from last week's average, but down $8.36 from a year ago. The 5-area dressed steer price averaged $179.79/cwt, up $9.48 from the week before and down $19.81 from a year ago.

Beef cutout value was also higher this week. This morning, the choice boxed beef cutout value was $199.01/cwt, up $4.24 from the previous Friday and $1.38 higher than a year ago. The select carcass cutout this morning was $187.07/cwt, up $6.37 from last week.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 572,000 head, down 4.5% from last week, but up 41.6% from the same week last year, which included Christmas Day.

The average steer dressed weight during the week ending on December 10 was 908 pounds. That is down 5 pounds from the week before and down 1 pound from a year ago.

Stocker and feeder cattle prices were steady this week at the Oklahoma City auction. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $153, 450-500# NR, 500-550# $137.50-$156, 550-600# $134, 600-650# $127.50-$134.50, 650-700# $129.50-$136, 700-750# $129-$137, 750-800# $123-$132.50, 800-900# $125-$137.50, and 900-1000# $125-$131.50/cwt.

Cattle futures were higher this week. The December live cattle futures contract settled at $114.57/cwt today, up $2.25 for the week. February live cattle gained 95 cents this week and closed at $116.30/cwt. The April contract settled at $114.32, up 72 cents for the week.

The January feeder cattle futures contract ended the week at $131.12/cwt, up $1.22 from a week earlier. March feeder cattle gained 87 cents this week to settle at $127.17/cwt. April feeder cattle settled at $126.62/cwt.


Latest News

Nebraska Feedlot @TLauritsen
Fed Cattle Steady As Futures Hit 11-Month High

Cattle feeders were left on the sidelines as every other cattle/beef market segment saw a price rally. Futures markets set new highs, but cash cattle have not reached $112 for seven months.

18 hours ago
Cargill Dodge City
Cargill Will Temporarily Idle Two Packing Plants

Cargill announced it will temporarily idle two of its protein processing facilities for scheduled maintenance. The idling of the facilities is unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

19 min ago
John Nalivka
Nalivka: Combine Your 'Best' Cost - 'Best' Revenue

Analyzing profit and loss relationships across the production end of both the beef and pork supply chains is key to decisions regardless of where you sit in that supply chain.

21 min ago
Y3 Ranch, Idaho
Merck’s Dr. Angela Baysinger Receives “Feather in Her Cap” Award

Dr. Baysinger was recognized for her significant contribution and achievements to the animal health industry, including mentoring and developing future women leaders.

12 min ago
The JBS plant in Greeley, Co.
JBS Offers $100 to Employees Who Get COVID-19 Vaccine

The bonus is intended to encourage employees to get inoculations, after thousands of U.S. meatpacking workers became infected with the coronavirus last year.

3 hours ago
“Etsy of Meat” Provides New Options for Consumers

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a farmer and businessman from southeast Iowa came up with an idea that has now grown into an expanding online marketplace known as ChopLocal.

3 hours ago