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CME: Feeder Cattle Auction Results Witness Lower Price Trends in W37

13 September 2019

US - Feeder cattle auction results for this week witnessed lower price trends, based on Oklahoma City trade early in the week, according to Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

Prices began to rally two weeks ago after dipping sharply from the repercussions from the fire at the slaughter plant in Holcomb, Kansas in mid-August. Medium and large frame 700- 800 pound steers were down $6 per cwt from two weeks ago (no auction last week due to the Labor Day holiday).

These prices were lower than mid-August values and the lowest since mid-June when nearby contract corn futures prices spiked up to $4.50 per bushel based on corn planting issues. Nearby corn futures are currently trading a dollar below that.

Volume at the Oklahoma City market this week was double that of the last week in August and up close to 30 percent from the same week a year ago, so ample supply may be an issue pushing prices lower. The monthly average weekly volume of feeder cattle receipts across the US put together by USDA-Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) for August was up less than 1 percent from August 2018 but this was all due to 40 percent surge in volume sold through electronic or internet markets.

Average weekly feeder cattle receipts through conventional sale barns in August were down 20 percent from the prior August. Virtually all of the decline was accounted for in the second and third weeks of the month. Feeder cattle trade exclusive of auction barns or electronic-internet channels (i.e. direct) was down 15 percent from August a year ago.

The jump in Oklahoma City receipts may be a harbinger of things to come. Pasture and range condition ratings reported by USDA-National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) have been declining for the last two months, and especially in August.

The Southern Plains (Texas and Oklahoma) pastures are at the center of this trend, with conditions on the verge of being worse than a year ago for the first time this year. This will be a factor pushing more cattle off of pastures and into auctions and feedlots.

The feeder cattle futures seem to have an awareness of this as the October contract was at a $2.85 discount to the September contract on 10 September, compared to a 20 cent discount one month earlier.


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