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Cattle Outlook: Feedlots Quieter Than Anticipated

22 September 2015

US - The US feedlots are shorter on cattle than expected, according to University of Missouri economists reviewing US Department of Agriculture figures.

The September cattle on feed report said there were 2.7 per cent more cattle on feed September 1 than a year ago, write Professors Ron Plain and Scott Brown.

USDA said August placements were down 5.4 per cent and August marketings were down 6.1 per cent compared to a year ago.

The average price of fresh beef at retail was $6.097 per pound during August. That was down 5.3 cents from the record high set the month before, but up 29.8 cents from August 2014. Both the farmers' share and the packers'share of grocery store beef prices were lower in August than a year ago with the gain going to retailers.

The average price for slaughter steers in August was $149.50/cwt. That was up 70 cents from the month before, but down $7.60 from August 2014. Domestic beef demand continues to be strong. The problem is with export demand, and some heavy cattle.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on September 5 set a new record at 914 pounds, up 8 pounds from the week before, up 25 pounds compared to the same week last year, above the year-ago level for the 64th consecutive week.

Cattle slaughter this week totalled 576,000 head, up 15.0 per cent from the week before, which was light because of Labor Day, and up 0.3 per cent from the same week last year. This is the first non-holiday related week with slaughter above the year-ago level since February.

Fed cattle prices this week were sharply lower on good volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $135.07/cwt, down $4.91 from last week's average and down $18.68 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $213.25/cwt, down $6.84 for the week and down $31.98 compared to the same week last year.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $227.19/cwt, down $10.79 from the previous Friday and down $23.34 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $219.73/cwt this morning, down $7.40 from last week.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were $5 to $15 lower this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $236-$268, 450-500# $237-$259, 500-550# $210-$239.75, 550-600# $203-$224.50, 600-650# $205-$229, 650-700# $190-$220, 700-750# $190.25-$212, 750-800# $186-$203.50, 800-900# $185-$197.50 and 900-1000#, $184-$185/cwt.

Like the cash market, cattle futures were lower last week. The October live cattle futures contract settled at $136.00/cwt today, down $4.60 for the week. December fed cattle settled at $138.37/cwt, down $4.00 from the previous week. September feeder cattle ended the week at $192.80/cwt, down $7.90 from seven days earlier. The October feeder cattle contract lost $9.28 to close at $185.82/cwt.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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