After an unseasonal drop in June, Kansas feedlot sales of fed cattle to beef packers showed an unseasonal increase in July, according to Kansas State University Extension Service data that was compiled and published by the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver.
The data is gathered from a select, representative group of Kansas feed yards in August. It then was extrapolated to approximate the activities of all Kansas feedlots by the LMIC.
The data showed that the average Kansas feedlot sold 4,794 head of slaughter-ready cattle to packer buyers in July, up 471, or 10.9%, from 4,323 in June but down 98, or 2.00%, from 4,892 in July 2019. This July’s rate also was up 144, or 3.10%, from the 2014-2018 average of 4,650 head.
For the year to date, Kansas feedlots have sold an average of 4,285 head a month to packers. This is down from 4,373 in the year-ago period and up from the previous five-year average of 4,225.
Predicting August sales gets a little murky. The 2014-2018 average tilts downward, while last year’s action points upward to the annual monthly high. After that, there is a consistent shift toward fewer feedlot closeouts into the October low.
CLOSEOUT WEIGHTS REMAIN ELEVATED
Feedlot weights continue to follow the 2-14-2018 average in general, and to hold consistently above the average and last year.
The K-State data showed that average weights of cattle as they exited the feedlots in July at 1,456 pounds each. This was up 31, or 2.18%, from June’s 1,425 pounds, up 59, or 4.22%, from last year’s 1,397 pounds and up 61.6, or 4.42%, from the previous five-year average of 1,394.4 pounds.
So far this year, the cattle exiting Kansas feed yards on their way to the packers weighed a monthly average of 1,434.7 pounds, up from 1,374.1 in the same period last year and up from 1,386.4 pounds in the 2014-2018 average.
Normally, fed cattle weights from Kansas feedlots continue to rise into the November annual high. Last year, the annual high occurred in December, however.
DAYS ON FEED DOWN, STILL ELEVATED
The number of days the cattle Kansas feedlots sold to packers in July declined from June but remained above last year and the previous five-year average.
July’s fed cattle spent an average of 193 days on feed, down eight, or 3.99%, from 201 for June, but up 11, or 6.04%, from July 2019’s 182 and up 29, or 17.7%, from the 2014-2018 average of 164.
For the year to date, the cattle sold to packers by Kansas feedlots spent an average of 186.9 days on feed, compared with 183.7 in the year-ago period and 165.4 in the previous five-year average.
The peak in the number of days closeout cattle stayed in the feedlot came in those sold in May at 203. Going forward, the number of days on feed declines to the October low.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Fed cattle trading this week was reported in the Plains at $101 to $102 per cwt on a live basis, down $1 to $2 from last week. Dressed-basis trading was seen at $160 to $161 per cwt, down $2 to $3.
The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was down $1.87 per cwt at $222.95, while select was off $0.95 at $207.51. The choice/select spread narrowed to $15.44 from $16.36 with 146 loads of fabricated product and 39 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was at $140.91 per cwt, up $1.86. This compares with Wednesday’s Sep contract settlement of $138.40 per cwt, down $0.55.