April Kansas Feedlot Closeouts Follow 2020 Dip

Kansas feedlots sold fewer slaughter-ready cattle to beef packers in April than they did in March, following 2020’s, COVID-related drop, according to data collected by the Kansas State University Extension Service.

The data is collected from select, representative feedlots around the state and sent to the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver to be extrapolated and compiled into a meaningful representative of the activities in the state for a given month.  The LMIC then publishes the results on its webpage.




The data showed the feedlot sales to packers, called closeouts as the pen is closed out of the feedlot’s books, dropped below the 2015-2019 average for the month.  The move was counter to the five-year average, which showed a small uptick in closeouts from March to April.

Last year in April, the US was a month into the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Packing plant employees were getting sick or dying, and packing plants were closing.  Slaughter and packing activities dropped off.

This year, many market analysts looked for Kansas feedlot closeouts to be more similar to the five-year average than to last year, but it was not the case.

April closeouts averaged 3,272 head per feedlot, down 1,291, or 28.3%, from 4,563 in March, the data showed.  However, they were up 466, or 16.6%, from 2,806 last April but down 897, or 21.5%, from the 2015-2019 average of 4,169.

If Kansas feedlot closeouts follow the 2020 trend again in May, they will recover to near the previous five-year average around 4,462 head.  From there, there is no real definition of a common trend until September when feedlot closeouts fall away.  June tends to be a high point in monthly sales to feedlots, but last year, the summer peak came in August.




The final weight of steers exiting Kansas feedlots in April declined in April from March, following a seasonal trend.  However, the final weights, called out-weights, were closer to last year than to the 2015-2019 average.

Kansas steer outweights have been closer to 2020 than to the average all year, with January and February higher than 2020 and March and April below last year.  But in all cases, outweights have been more than the 2015-2019 average, and the seasonal trend has held true.

The data showed that the average steer leaving Kansas feedlots in April weighed 1,397 pounds, down 12, or 3.41%, from 1,409 in March and down five, or 0.36%, from last year’s 1,402.  However, the average April outweight was 34 pounds, or 2.49%, more than the 1,363-pound average.




Fed cattle traded last week at $119.50 to $120 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1.50 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading was at $190 to $191 per cwt, steady to up $2.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $0.38 per cwt at $338.60, while select was off $2.56 at $309.17.  The choice/select spread widened to $29.43 from $27.25 with 81 loads of fabricated product and 17 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported Monday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were down $0.12 a bushel at $1.00 to $1.07 over the Jul futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.70 over Jul, which settled at $6.79 1/4 a bushel, down $0.03 1/2.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Friday was $141.07 per cwt up $3.57.  This compares with Monday’s Aug contract settlement of $150.20 per cwt, up $0.27.