Kansas Feedlots Expand Marketings In May

Kansas feedlots expanded the number of fed cattle they sold to packer buyers in May, the second straight month of increases after an unseasonal March bottom, according to data collected by the Kansas State University Extension Service.

The data was collected from selected, representative feedlots and compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Service in Denver, extrapolating the information to arrive at an estimate of the activity at an average Kansas feed yard.

The data showed that Kansas feedlots, on average, sold 4,754 head of slaughter-ready cattle to packers in May, up 1,231, or 34.9%, from 3,523 in April.  This also was 737 head, or 18.3%, above the May 2018 average of 4,017 head and 764, or 19.1%, more than the 2013-2017 average of 3,990 head.

There is a strong seasonal tendency for average Kansas feedlot marketings to rise in June to at least a seasonal high.  Last year, the June marketings were the annual high point, but the previous five-year average has June sales as the second highest month of the year, following December.




The effect of the harsh winter weather conditions still are evident in the K-State data.  The final sales weight of the steers sold to packers in May is between last year and the previous five-year average.  However, the rate of gain for these steers was lower, and they spent more time on feed getting to a proper slaughter weight and level of fatness.

The average final, or closeout, weight for steers in May was 1,365 pounds, up 14, or 1.04%, from April’s 1,351 pounds.  This was 18 pounds, or 1.30%, below May 2018’s weight of 1,383 pounds but 7.8 pounds, or 0.57%, above the 2013-2017 average of 1,357.2 pounds.

However, the average number of days those steers were on feed to reach their closeout weight was well above average.  The steers sold in May averaged 190 days on feed, the same as those sold in April but 27, or 16.6%, more than last year’s 163 days and 21.8, or 8.13%, more than the previous five-year average of 168.2 days.

That means the cattle sold in May gained less weight through the winter than in most years.  The difference wasn’t as wide as for those sold in March, but the average daily gain remained below last year and the previous five-year average in May, just as it has for every month this year.

The average daily gain for steers sold to packers in May was 3.26 pounds, up 0.12 pound, or 3.82%, from April’s 3.14 pounds but 0.21 pound, or 6.05%, less than last May’s 3.47 pounds and 0.112 pound, or 3.32%, less than the 2013-2017 average of 3.372 pounds.

Yet, despite the lower feeding efficiency of the fed cattle marketed in May, average feeding costs remained below the 2013-2017 average, although they were above last year.




Cash cattle trading was reported last week at $109 to $111.50 per cwt on a live basis down $1 to up $1.50 from the previous week, and at $180 on a dressed basis, down $2 to $3.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was up $0.06 per cwt at $219.72, while select was up $0.08 at $195.64.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $24.08 from $24.10 with 108 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

There were 38 heifer delivery tenders and 11 steer delivery tenders Monday at zero.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $133.44 per cwt, up $0.32 from the previous day.  This compares with Monday’s Aug contract settlement of $137.02, up $0.17.