May Kansas Feedlot Closeouts Up

Estimated Kansas feedlot closeouts for May were up, which was counter to last year, but the jump in average head marketed to packers actually followed a seasonal trend.

That seasonal tendency continues to rise through June before leveling off in July, according to data gathered by the Kansas State University Extension Service.  The data is taken from a representative group of feedlots across the state and then extrapolated and compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

Last May, feedlot marketings to packers declined in May, continuing April’s lower sales.  But that was counter to the longer-term average, so comparing this year’s feedlot sales activity to last year would give the wrong impression of this year’s feedlot out-movement.

The LMIC graph of feedlot sales looks like this:

On average, Kansas feed yards marketed 4,966 head of fed cattle to beef packers in May, up 985, or 24.7%, from 3,981 a month earlier.  This increased selling interest was cited for keeping cattle market rallies in check.  Prices did go up, but sources say the market would have been much higher had slaughter not picked up.

As it was, beef demand was so great that cold storage supplies declined about 10% from a month earlier and 11% from a year earlier.




However, Kansas feedlot sales remained below a year earlier for the third straight month, a trend that shows no hint of reversing unless June sales data turn sharply higher.  But the next likely crossing won’t be until July when last year’s marketings dipped sharply.

May marketings, at 4,497 head per feedlot, were below last year’s May reading of 4,944 by 447, or 9.04%.  Compared with the 2011-2015 average of 3,253, head, sales to packers were up 1,244, or 38.3%.




The cattle that were marketed by Kansas feedlots in May weighed less than last year but were slightly heavier than the 2011-2015 average.  However, they were a little heavier than those sold in April, which follows the long-term average trend.

By April 30, a large percentage of the cattle that entered the feedlots in the fall at younger ages are finished and gone, leaving those that were placed later in the winter at heavier weights to sell.

The average sale weight of Kansas cattle in May was 1,351 pounds, compared with 1,345 in April.  The May weight was 42 pounds, or 3.02%, below last year’s 1,393 pounds but 14 pounds, or 1.05%, above the previous five-year average of 1,337 pounds.

This LMIC graph looks like this:

Following the trend, fed cattle slaughter weights should rise unevenly through the end of the year.




Fed cattle sales on the livestock exchange video auction Wednesday was very limited.  Two sets of heifers, totaling 320 head, sold in Kansas at $119 and $119.25 per cwt, with an average of $119.52.  This was down $3.48 from the previous week’s average of $123.00.  One group of Nebraska cattle sold at $120.

Cash cattle traded last week at $122 to $123 per cwt on a live basis, down $10 from $132 to $133 the previous week, and at $195 to $196 dressed, down $9 to $10.

The USDA’s choice cutout Wednesday was down $4.48 per cwt at $229.43, while select was off $2.59 at $212.67.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $16.76 from $18.65 with 125 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $146.86 per cwt, up $0.44.  This compares with Wednesday’s Aug settlement at $146.40, up $1.52.