Kansas Feedlots Market Fewer Cattle In January

Kansas feedlots sold fewer slaughter-ready cattle to beef packers in January than in either last year or the 2017-2021 average, according to data collected by the Kansas State University Extension service.

The K-State Extension service surveys select feedlots around the state for key statistics on the cattle they sold for slaughter in a given month.  The data then is forwarded to the Livestock Marketing Information Service where it is compiled to formulate data on an “average” Kansas feedlot.  The results are graphed and published on the LMIC website.




That “average” Kansas feedlot sold 4,184 head of fed steers to the beef packers in January, down 2,994, or 41.7%, from 7,178 a year earlier and down 771, or 15.6%, from the previous five-year average of 4,955.

The “average” Kansas feedlot sold 2,600 head of fed heifers for slaughter in January, down 1,427, or 35.4%, from 4,027 a year earlier and down 1,241, or 32.3%, from the 2017-2021 average of 3,841.

If the seasonal trend, as measured by the five-year average, holds true, fed steer marketings will decline from January in February, rebound a bit in March and then decline again to an annual low in April.  Heifer marketings also have a seasonal tendency to decline in February but not rebound in March, continuing to the annual low in April.




The final weights of steers and heifers leaving Kansas feedlots in January were down from a year earlier.  However, both were heavier than the previous five-year average.

The average exit weight of steers in January was 1,436 pounds, down 25, or 1.71%, from 1,461 in January a year ago but up seven, or 0.49%, from the average of 1,429.

The average weight of fed heifers leaving Kansas feedlots in January was 1,321 pounds, down 23, or 1.71%, from 1,344 a year earlier but up 11.2, or 0.86%, from the five-year average of 1,309.8,

The seasonal average for exit weights for both calls for a decline to the annual low in April followed by an uneven climb to the annual high in December.




The average number of days fed cattle marketed from Kansas feedlots in January also fell below last year but above the previous five-year average.

For steers, the average number of days on feed was 180, down three, or 1.64%, from 183 in 2022 but up 12.2, or 7.27%, from the average of 167.8.

For heifers, the average number of days spent on feed was 170, down nine, or 5.03%, from last year’s 179 but up 5.6, or 3.41%, from the previous five-year average’s 164.4.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $161.55 to $166.69 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $164.13 to $166.59.  FOB dressed steers, and heifers went for $259.52 to $266.29 per cwt, versus $258.17 to $264.02.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was up $1.05 per cwt at $285.91 while select was up $0.94 at $274.56.  The choice/select spread widened to $11.35 from $11.24 with 78 loads of fabricated product and 13 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA said basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.60 to $1.70 a bushel over the May corn contract.  Bids in Kansas were steady at $0.75 over May, which settled at $6.20 3/4 a bushel, up $0.07 1/4.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $189.51 per cwt, down $0.26.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar contract settlement of $189.92 per cwt, down $0.90.