Kansas Feedlots Seem More Current Than Elsewhere

Kansas feedlots appear to be doing a better job of staying current with their sales to packing plants, or marketings, than they did last year.

A monthly Extension Service survey of select, representative feedlots in Kansas during August shows that they were selling cattle for slaughter at consistently lighter weights than last year or the 2011-2015 average.

Closeout weights of fed steers in August from Kansas feedlots averaged 1,379 pounds, compared with a US average of about 1,329 pounds.  This from USDA’ Agricultural Marketing Service compared with data collected by the Kansas State University Extension Service and compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

The K-State data also show that fed steer weights in Kansas set their annual bottom two months late in June at 1,332 pounds.  Last year, the annual bottom in fed steer weights came in April at 1,388 pounds.  The 2011-2015 average monthly bottom also came in April with a reading of 1,328 pounds.




Southern Plains fed cattle closeout weights also are climbing seasonally but the changes over time are much less easy to see.  This LMIC graph of steer live weights is on a weekly basis rather than on a monthly basis as is the K-State data, but the trends are visible.

Closeout data from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico don’t show a strong tendency for a spring/early summer bottom.  Instead, the weekly low weight for fed steers in the area during the 2011-2015 timeframe comes the third week of May at 1,242 pounds.

However, annual weekly slaughter weight lows last year and this year come at different times.  Last year, the bottom occurred the second week of January at 1,282 pounds.  This year’s low so far came the second week of March at 1,265 pounds.

The Southern Plains weekly data also show a much more volatile period of slaughter weights into early December when they tend to drop off.




The number of days August cattle marketings spent on feed also continued to rise contra-seasonally, although at a much slower pace than those sold in July, according to the K-State data.

On average, Kansas slaughter cattle spent 169 days munching at the feed trough, up one from 168 in July, which in turn was up from 162 in June.  However, last year in August, fed cattle sold to packers only spent 150 days on feed, down from 155 in July, which in turn was down from 157 in June.

By the same token, the previous five-year average has August cattle marketings spending 151.6 days on feed, down from 155 in July, which was down from 160.6 in June.

Apparently, there is a tug on the number of days slaughter cattle will spend on feed going into November where it bottoms seasonally, but this year is defying the trend.




Two lots from Texas sold at the Livestock Exchange video auction Wednesday at $108.25 and $108.50 per cwt.

Cash cattle traded lightly Tuesday at $110 per cwt, steady with the top of last week.  Cattle last week traded from $107 to $110 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $3 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading last week was at $170 to $172, steady to down $2.

The USDA’s choice cutout Monday was up $0.91 per cwt at $198.13, while select was up $1.43 at $188.66.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $9.47 from $9.99 with 72 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $155.35 per cwt, down $0.22.  This compares with Monday’s Oct settlement of $153.77, down $0.17.