Going along with beef packing plant closures and slowdowns in April, Kansas feedlots sold far fewer fed cattle to the plants than in March, according to statistics gathered by the Kansas State University Extension Service and compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center.
However, it’s interesting that April feedlot marketings weren’t a long way below last April and were fractionally above March 2019.
Among the things the LMIC does to massage the raw data gathered from select feedlots by the K-State Extension Service, is extrapolating the numbers to come up with a look at what the average feedlot in the state did during the month. The data then is graphed and published by the LMIC.
The average feedlot in Kansas sold 2,806 head of slaughter-ready cattle to beef packers in April, the LMIC said. This was down 1,908 head, or 40.5%, from March’s 4,714 and ran counter to the five-year average monthly change, which trends higher from March to April.
Prior to the cut in April marketings for slaughter, the trend had been for Kansas feedlots to sell more cattle per month than the 2014-2018 average. The monthly trend also was following this five-year average.
April’s sales pace was 1,415 head, or 33.5%, below the 2014-2018 average for the month of 4,221 head, the LMIC said. But it was only below last April’s 3,523 head by 717, or 20.4%, and actually was above March 2019’s pace of 2.640 head by 166, or 6.29%. March 2019 sales were nipped by harsh winter weather.
EXIT WEIGHTS DOWN, STILL ABOVE 2019, AVERAGE
While average marketings ran counter to the month-to-month average, feedlot exit weights declined with the average. However, weights remained above last year and the previous five-year average.
Average exit weights for fed steers from Kansas feedlots in April were 1,402 pounds, down from March’s 1,444. April’s steer exit weights were above the year-earlier weight of 1,351 pounds by 51 pounds, or 3.77%, and the 2014-2018 average of 1,362.8 pounds by 39.2 pounds, or 2.88%.
Feedlot exit weights nationwide were expected to move higher as cattle languished awaiting their date with destiny after the COVID-19 lockdowns. If they do, they will be following a strong seasonal trend that has weights rising into November. And many market analysts expected weights to climb for months as the industry catches up.
DAYS ON FEED RISE; EQUAL 2019
The average number of days the cattle Kansas feedlots sold to packers in April spent on feed was 190, the same as April 2019 but up 20.4, or 12.0%, from the previous five-year average of 169.6.
An analyst said this may remain elevated since slaughter rates have yet to return to normal.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Fed cattle trading was reported in the Corn Belt Tuesday at $165 to $168 per cwt on a dressed basis. This compares with last week in the Plains at $176 to $187.
Fed cattle trading was reported last week in the Plains at $109 to $118 per cwt on a live basis, down $2 to $3 from the previous week’s range. Dressed-basis trading was seen at $176 to $187 per cwt, down $2 to $3.
The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $7.58 per cwt at $247.00, while select was off $3.17 at $227.95. The choice/select spread narrowed to $19.05 from $23.46 with 168 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
No deliveries were tendered for delivery against the Aug live cattle contract Tuesday.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $129.52 per cwt, up $0.45. This compares with Tuesday’s Aug contract settlement of $134.25, up $1.17.