National Feeder Cattle Report:  Western Video Market Sale

Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 higher.  Demand was good again this week as auctions were only held at limited places this week due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.

August CME Feeder Cattle Futures were finally climbed to a higher level than the beginning of the month only to sell off on Friday to close almost 5.00 higher than last Friday’s close.  

Cattle at auctions of all types are in demand at this juncture.  On Thursday, at the Western Video Market sale, two loads of 810 lb steers with all the bells and whistles to be delivered in the next week sold at 156.00.  In addition, five loads of 750 lbs steers for the first half of June delivery sold at 160.00.

Cattle slaughter has rebounded in recent weeks and this week averaged over 110K Tuesday through Friday.  Normal daily cattle slaughter in January was around 120K.  Estimated slaughter under federal inspection this week was reported at a 524K, 31K less than last week, and 64K less than last year.  Weekly Hog slaughter was estimated at 1966K this week; 171K less than last week, and 165K less than a year ago.  

Along with the increased slaughter rates, meat production has gone up as well.  Year-to-date beef production is still behind year ago but will be making inroads to making up the difference in the coming weeks and months.  

Steer dressed weights have now topped 900 lb with week ending May 16.  Last year, 900 lbs dressed weights for steers didn’t happen until October 12.  With an accumulation of fed cattle, seasonal weights have increased ahead of schedule.  Typically, this time of year, calf-feds comprise a substantial component of the fed cattle slaughter and drops the average weights.  

This week in the Southern Plains, live cattle purchases were reported at 115.00 to 120.00, while dressed sales in Nebraska were mostly 178.00 to 190.00.  

Boxed beef has decreased in value over the last couple of weeks and this morning’s Choice boxed beef value was 31.17 lower than last Friday’s close, while Select cuts were 30.72 lower.  This decrease will allow more consumers to acquire protein at a level that should be easier on the pocketbook.  

Auction volume this week included 53 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 40 percent heifers.

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Rob Cook,