US - New records were established by fed cattle and futures highs last week, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown of the University of Missouri.
Fed cattle prices set new records this week. Live weight prices for slaughter steer reached $130/cwt for the first time ever in October.
They made it to $140/cwt for the first time in January, and this week they went above $150/cwt for the first time ever. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $150.66/cwt, up $8.66 from a week ago and up $22.82 from a year ago.
Steer sales on a dressed basis averaged $239.98/cwt this week, up $9.98 from a week ago and up $36.68 from year ago. Sales volume was heavy.
Cattle futures also established new record highs this week. The February live cattle futures contract closed at $151.95/cwt today, up $7.40 from last week's close. April fed cattle settled at $144.97, up $3.52 for the week. June settled at $134.20/cwt, up $1.48.
The March feeder cattle futures contract ended the week at $171.70/cwt, up $1.00 for the week. April feeders closed at $173.07/cwt, up $1.87 from the previous Friday. The May feeder cattle contract ended the week at $173.70.
This morning, the boxed beef cutout value for choice carcasses was $224.56/cwt, up $9.78 from the previous Friday and up $37.07 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout is $221.66/cwt, up $9.84 from last week and up $36.41 from last year.
U.S. beef demand was up 1.7 per cent in 2013 to the highest level since 2008. Domestic beef demand is 7.4 per cent higher than 15 years ago, which is a bigger increase than for pork, chicken or turkey.
Overall meat demand in 2013 was up 3.0 per cent to the highest level since 2007, which was before the last recession.
Export demand for U.S. beef in 2013 was up 4.9 per cent compared to the year before and was 24.2 per cent greater than 15 years ago. Beef export demand in 2013 was 2.6 per cent lower than in 2003, the last year without BSE.
This week's cattle slaughter totaled 567,000 head, up 5.2 per cent from the previous week and up 5.3 per cent from the corresponding week last year.
The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on February 15 was 862 pounds, down 9 pounds from the week before, and down 8 pounds from a year earlier.
Feeder cattle prices at this week's Oklahoma City auction were $2 lower to $2 higher in good volume. This week's prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight were: 400-450# $210-$237, 450-500# $210-$237, 500-550# $210-$223, 550-600# $183-$212, 600-650# $176-$199, 650-700# $170-$184, 700-750# $166.50-$175.25, 750-800# $162.25-$169.85, 800-900# $151-$164.50, and 900-1000# $146-$156.50/cwt.
TheCattleSite News Desk
Top image via Shutterstock