Cattle Market Steady

Jeff Swenson, DATCP’s livestock and meat specialist prepared the following report. This report draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA reports.

Whether consumer demand will stay strong and the size of the corn crop may be questioned, no one can say cattle supplies are not going to get even tighter. Cash cattle ended last week steady and auction markets reported feeder cattle prices steady to $3.00 lower.

Nearby Feeder Cattle futures were higher late last week, and set new contract highs on Monday. They struggled to hold those gains, but the uptick should help firm cash feeder cattle prices.

Last week’s estimated harvest nationally was 626,000 head, up 10,000 from the previous week and 52,000 lower than the same week last year. July’s beef production totaled 2.11 billion pounds making 6% lower than a year ago. Year-to-date beef production is 4% below 2022. Cattle harvest was 2.60 million head in July, also a 6% drop from July 2022. Cattle harvest at USDA inspected establishments in Wisconsin totaled 106,800 head in July, 4,000 less than a year ago.

The Choice beef carcass cutout jumped $6.63 last week to average $317.04. Given that Labor Day weekend needs have been met, it’s expected that the cutout was showing weakness this week.

Beef breed fed cattle were steady at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets, bringing $150 to $180/cwt.

High Choice and Prime steers and heifers brought $180 to $194/cwt. The Holstein steer market was mostly steady $1 higher from $126 to $166/cwt with a few higher. Silage fed, under finished or heavy dairy breed steers brought $75 to $125/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were bringing $126 to $174.

Cows were lower. A bulk of the cows brought $70 to $105/cwt with fleshier dairy and beef cows selling to $120/cwt. and a few above. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $70/cwt and down.

Dairy breed bull calves were steady bringing $100 to $250/cwt with some heavier, well-managed calves selling to $325. Beef and Beef Cross calves were steady, selling to $650/cwt.