Cattle Carcass Weights Moderating

Market analysts see signs that feedyards have significantly reduced the COVID-19-induced backlog of cattle and are regaining currentness, also a key factor in the recent market rally.

A key signal are the carcass weights published each Thursday by USDA. For the week ending October 31 the data show an average steer carcass weight of 926 pound, down five pounds from the previous week, yet still 23 pounds heavier (+2.5%) than last year. Average heifer carcass weights was 848 pounds, one pound heavier than the previous week and 13 pounds (+1.6%) heavier than last year.

Market analysts also believe carcass weights have been trending lower the first two weeks of November. Len Steiner, Steiner Consulting Group, says over the last three years “the peak in fed cattle weights has happened in mid-November and it appears we may be at that point again this year. The marketing pace in October was good even though one less marketing day will mean marketings for the month were slightly lower than a year ago.
For now, Steiner says, fed cattle data suggest incremental improvements in weights, with weather and COVID two main wild cards for Dec./Jan.

Cattle were backlogged both in feedyards and outside of feedyards during the COVID-19 disruptions, and analysts believe the end of the backlog should be marketed by the first half of 2021. If that happens, fed cattle supplies will begin to reflect the reality of two years of declining calf crops.


Latest News

Nebraska Sandhills
Nebraska’s AL Ranch Listed

The AL Ranch, Halsey, NE, supports a 700-head cow-calf operation and has a backgrounding facility for 2,500-head. The ranch consists of 7,052 deeded acres and the balance in National Forest grazing permits.

2 days ago
Wareham's daughters helped him gather and sort cows recently.
Jared Wareham: Are Balanced Trait Genetics a Long-Term Answer?

Genetic progress has helped drive our industry forward and each segment along the value chain has benefited from advancements in genetics. Have we moved the needle enough with regard to total beef system profitability?

8 min ago
Angus VNR: Making Forward Progress

It's no secret market access is grounded in consumer demands. Dustin Aherin, RaboResearch analyst, shares supply-chain dynamics and what it means to the future.

2 hours ago
Josie, Josh and Gwen Hoy, Flying W Ranch
Hoy Family’s Flying W Ranch Receives Kansas Leopold Conservation Award

Josh and Gwen Hoy’s Flying W Ranch of Cedar Point has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award®.

59 min ago
Cattle and hog feeding margins steady
Profit Tracker: Cattle, Hog Margins Steady

Cattle and hog feeding operations saw their margins remain modestly profitable last week with little movement in cash prices. Both cattle and hog feeding margins are higher than last year at the same time.

1 hour ago
Thanksgiving may look different in 2020, but farmers are still the focus.
Let’s Talk Turkey, Thanksgiving and Traditions

Thanksgiving may look different in 2020, but farmers are still the focus.

5 hours ago