Cattle Outlook: Cattle on Feed Higher

US - Cattle feedlots and cold storage beef stocks are fuller than a year ago, report economists at Missouri University.
calendar icon 27 April 2015
clock icon 2 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

April's Cattle on Feed report said placements were up 0.4 per cent, higher than expected, write Professors Ron Plain and Scott Brown in their weekly round-up.

Marketings from feedlots were down 1.7 per cent on the year. That yields an on feed number April 1 equal to 100.0 per cent of a year ago. 

USDA's latest Cold Storage report says there were 480 million pounds of beef in cold storage at the end of March. That is 18.2 per cent more than a year ago, but 2.4 per cent less than the month before. Overall, this is good news as beef stocks usually increase during March.

The weekly Crop Progress report says that national moisture conditions are wetter than a year ago, which should be good news for forages.

Fed cattle prices this week were lower on moderate volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $158.91/cwt, down $3.80 from last week's average, but up $12.23 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $252.14/cwt, down $3.82 for the week, but up $16.14 compared to the same week last year.

This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $258.78/cwt, up $1.09 from the previous Friday and up $25.71 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $249.28/cwt this morning, down $2.17 from last week, but up $27.21 from a year ago.

Cattle slaughter this week totalled 544,000 head, up 2.1 per cent from the week before, but down 5.9 per cent from the same week last year. Year-to-date cattle slaughter is down 7.5 per cent and beef production is down 5.3 per cent.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on April 11 was 871 pounds, up 2 pounds from the week before and up 21 pounds compared to the same week last year. Steer weights have been above year-ago each week since June 14, 2014.

Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were mostly steady to $4 lower this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $321-$322, 450-500# $284-$294, 500-550# $285-$294.50, 550-600# $256.50-$274, 600-650# $240-$257, 650-700# $225-$247, 700-750# $221.75-$233.50, 750-800# $206.75-$216.50, 800-900# $190-$206, and 900-1000#, $177-$196/cwt.

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