Weekly US Cattle Outlook - Cattle On Feed Down

US - Weekly Cattle Outlook, 26th September 2008 - Weekly review of the US cattle industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 29 September 2008
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

The number of cattle on feed September 1 was a little smaller than the trade estimate. The USDA estimate of cattle on feed was down three percent from 2007. The trade estimate was for the number to be down 2.1 percent. Placements on feed during August were down 2.8 percent from a year earlier with the trade estimate for placements to be up 0.2 percent. Fed cattle marketings during August were down 8.8 percent. The trade estimate was for a decline of 9.7 percent.

The weights of cattle placed on feed during August were heavier than 12 months earlier. The number placed on feed weighing less than 600 pounds was down 25.5 percent from last year, the number placed weighing 600-699 pounds was down 6.8 percent but the number placed weighing 700-799 pounds was up 3.1 percent. The number placed weighing over 800 pounds was up 12.5 percent from 12 month earlier. These heavier-weight cattle placed will require a shorter feeding period; therefore, marketings will be down less than indicated by the number of cattle on feed.

Cold storage stocks of beef at the end of August were two percent above the end of July but were down 10 percent from a year earlier. All of the decline plus some is in boneless beef stocks which were down one percent from a month earlier and down 16 percent from a year earlier.

Higher trimming prices, we believe, are associated with the weak economy. Consumers are buying lower priced cuts of beef, which have increased the price of the lower value cuts relative to high value cuts such as steaks. A portion of the higher trimming prices may be due to reduced imports.

Feeder steer and heifer prices were $1-3 per cwt lower than last week at Oklahoma City. Steer and heifer calves were steady to $3 per cwt lower with most of the decline in the early portion of the sale.

The price ranges by weight groups for medium and large frame No. 1 steers this week at Oklahoma City were: 400-500 pounds $117.50- $131 per cwt, 500-600 pounds $110-123.75, 600-700 pound calves $100-$106 per cwt, 600-700 pounds yearlings $108-114.25 per cwt, 700-800 pounds $106.20-$112 per cwt and 800-1,000 pounds $101-$109.25 per cwt.

Weighted average live fed cattle prices for the five-market area through Thursday at $98.10 per cwt were down $0.20 per cwt from a week earlier. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices through Thursday at $151.85 per cwt were up $0.95 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Wholesale beef prices Friday morning showed Choice beef at $155.93 per cwt, down $4.02 per cwt from last week. Select beef at $150.13 per cwt was down $3.49 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 647 thousand head, down 1.4 percent from a year earlier.

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