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Weekly Cattle Summary

29 May 2013
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

US - The amount of beef in cold storage at the end of April, 510 million pounds, was down 0.2 per cent from the month before and down 1.5 per cent from a year ago, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown.

USDA’s May Cattle on Feed report said the number of cattle in large feedlots at the start of May was down 3.4 per cent from a year ago. This was the 9th consecutive month with fewer cattle than a year earlier and the lowest for May since 2010.

April placements were up 15.1 per cent , largely due to very low placements in April 2012. The calculated average placement weight of cattle placed on feed in April was up 1 per cent from a year earlier. April feedlot marketings were up 2.2 per cent , due to one extra slaughter day. This was the most April marketings since 2010.

After a very slow start, the corn crop is going into the ground fast. As of May 12, 28 per cent of corn acres were planted. A week later, 71 per cent was planted. That means nearly 6 million acres were planted per day for that seven day period. More than a million acres per day were planted in Iowa alone.

Fed cattle prices held steady this week. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $124.45/cwt, down 34 cents from last week, but up $3.18/cwt from the same week last year. Steer prices on a dressed basis averaged $199.85/cwt this week, up 9 cents from a week ago and up $6.35 from a year ago.

The choice beef cutout value set a new record on Thursday of $211.37/cwt. This morning, the boxed beef cutout value for choice carcasses was $209.93/cwt, up 97 cents from the previous Friday and up $15.22 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout is at $191.11/cwt, down $1.41 for the week. The choice-select price spread is $18.82/cwt, the most since mid December.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 648,000 head, down 0.6 per cent from last week, but up 1.2 per cent from a year ago. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on May 11 was 842 pounds, up 3 pounds from the week before and up 7 pounds from a year ago. This was the 70th consecutive week with average steer weight above the year-earlier level.

Oklahoma City feeder cattle prices were steady to $5 lower this week with prices for medium and large frame #1 steers: 450-500# $161-$165, 500-550# $150-$155.50, 550-600# $127-$157.50, 600-650# $137-$149.75, 650-700# $132-$139.25, 700-750# $130-$137.50, 750-800# $123-$134.50, 800-900# $117.50-$130.75, and 900-1000# $114-$119.75/cwt.

The June live cattle futures contract closed at $120.57/cwt today, up $1.17 from last week’s close. The August fed cattle contract gained 67 cents from last Friday to settle at $119.22/cwt. October fed cattle futures settled at $122.80/cwt and December at $124.80/cwt..

August feeder cattle futures settled at $144.55/cwt, up $1.18 for the week. The September contract gained 97 cents to close at $146.67/cwt. October ended the week at $148.52/cwt.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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