Kansas Feedlots Sell More Cattle To Packers

The number of cattle sold to beef packers from Kansas feedlots in November rose from the seasonal low in October but continue to run less than a year ago.

The information came from data accumulated by the Kansas State University Extension Service in a monthly survey of selected feedlots around the state.  The data was extrapolated, compiled and published by the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver.




According to the survey, Kansas feed yards sold an average of 3,698 head of slaughter-ready cattle to beef packers in November, up 488, or 15.2%, from October’s 3,210.  This was 521 head, or 12.3%, fewer than November 2018 sales of 4,219 head and 108, or 3.01%, more than the 2013-2017 average of 3,590.

The 2013-2017 average move for the month is toward fewer sales to packers from a bump in October, but this trend is almost flat, indicating October’s sales can go either way, up or down from September.  What is somewhat consistent is that September and November sales are nearly the same, with November edging September by a very thin margin.

A rise in sales to packers in December also is in the cards.  Such a move to end the year is deeply engrained in the cattle market seasonal trend.

It also is normal for January sales to packers to decline from December and dip even more into the annual low in February, even though last year, the annual low was a month late, in March, because of some harsh winter conditions in Kansas that slowed cattle growth and fattening rates.




The average weight of steers exiting Kansas feedlots in November as they headed toward the packing plants hit an annual high in November at 1,461 pounds.  This was up 39 pounds, or 2.74%, from November’s 1,422 pounds, up 17, or 1.18%, from a year earlier’s 1,444 pounds and 38 pounds, or 2.67%, more than the previous five-year average of 1,423 pounds.

The annual peak in feedlot closeout weights often comes at the end of the year, usually in December, although wintry weather can trim December final weights a bit.  Last month’s Kansas weather wasn’t exceptionally cold or wet, though, so final weights may exceed even November’s annual high so far.

January weights likely won’t be as high.  There is a strong seasonal tendency for slaughter-ready cattle to weigh less than in December, and from there to descend to the annual low sometime in late spring.  This year, the annual low in fed cattle weights came in March after a particularly harsh winter.




The number of days Kansas cattle were kept on feed rose in November from October, a seasonal trend where steers that go to slaughter in November usually reach maturity in the shortest amount of time.

November closeouts averaged 167 days on feed, compared with 161 in October, 177 a year earlier and the 2013-2017 average of 156.2.




Cash cattle trading was reported last week at mostly $124 to $126 per cwt, steady to $1 higher than the previous week, although mostly at the lower end of the range.  Dressed-basis trading was done at mostly $200 per cwt, steady to up $2.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was up $2.21 per cwt at $212.76, while select was up $2.07 at $210.30.  The choice/select spread widened to $2.46 from $2.32 with 83 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $146.51 per cwt, up $0.55.  This compares with Tuesday’s Jan contract settlement of $145.90, down $0.32.