January Kansas Feedlot Sales Jump

Kansas feedlot sales of slaughter-ready cattle to packers, or closeouts, in January were up from last year and the 2016-2020 average, according to survey data.

The survey, a monthly gathering of statistics by the Kansas State University Extension Service and compiled and published by the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver, showed Kansas feedlots in January were aggressive sellers of fed cattle.  The data from select feedlots are compiled and extrapolated to represent an “average” feed yard’s actions during a given month.




The survey showed that the average Kansas feedlot in January marketed 7,178 head of slaughter-ready cattle to beef packers, up 2,763, or 62.6%, from 4,415 a year earlier and up 2,463, or 52.2%, from the previous five-year average of 4,715 head.

An analyst said, January’s surge in closeouts could have been because of high feeding costs or lack of packer buying interest late last year.

If January is the beginning of a trend, Kansas feedlot closeouts could be high for the rest of the year, the analyst said.  Month-to-month fluctuations that correspond to the 2016-2020 average would keep feedlot closeouts well above last year since 2021 monthly closeouts related to the average.

That said, February’s Kansas feed yard closeouts should move more or less sideways until they rise in May toward a summer peak sometime in June, July or August.




If the January closeout cattle were sold early because of strong packer buying interest, their exit weights didn’t show it, the analyst said.

The average weight of fed steers going to slaughter was 1,461 pounds, down eight, or 0.54%, from last year’s 1,469 pounds but up 218.4, or 17.6%, from the previous five-year average of 1,242.6 pounds.

There is a strong seasonality for the final weights of Kansas feedlot steers to decline through April and then begin a long, uneven gain into November’s annual high.

Last year, though, showed uncharacteristic fluctuations in late summer and early fall with exit weights falling in August and September, only to recover in October.




The number of days the average January closeout steer in Kansas was on feed was up from last year and the previous five-year average.

Steers sold to beef packers in January took an average of 183 days on feed before being purchased and moved to slaughter.  This was up 15, or 8.93%, from 168 days last January and up 16, or 9.58%, from the 2016-2020 average of 167 days.

On average, days on feed will peak in April before declining into an October annual low.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $138.08 to $139.61 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $140.92 to $145.00.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $218.66 to $220.18 per cwt, versus $221.90 to $225.95.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was up $2.39 per cwt at $257.90, while select was down $1.10 at $248.84.  The choice/select spread widened to $9.06 from $5.57 with 86 loads of fabricated product and 50 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported that basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.30 to $1.40 a bushel over the May futures and for southwest Kansas were steady at $0.00 over May, which settled at $7.58, up $0.09 3/4.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $152.81 per cwt up $0.50.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar contract settlement of $156.35 per cwt, up $0.40.