Compared to last week, steers and heifers sold steady to 5.00 higher. Demand was reported at moderate to good across the North and South Plains this week as buyers were willing to put cattle back in pens even with the uptick in corn prices recently. Planters made progress across the Plains this past week as NASS reported 83 percent of the corn has been planted as of June 9 2019, up 16 percent from the previous week. The 83 percent is conversely 16 percent behind the previous 5-year average. Moving along those same lines, the Supply and Demand report came out on Tuesday with the Chief Economist reporting a 10 bushel per acre corn reduction nationwide as well as informing the nation of a decrease of 3 million acres of corn that will not be planted this year; the largest such decrease on a June report since the data series started. Ranchers have been busy making hay in the Plains late last week into early this week. They have been trying to dodge rain showers and cool weather that is detrimental to getting forage to cure in the windrow.
Year to date preliminary heifer slaughter rate through May is about 50K short of 4 million head; the last time that January to May heifer slaughter has eclipsed the 4 million mark was 2011. The heifer slaughter rate is 8.7 percent over a year ago. Dairy cow slaughter is 5.6 percent higher and beef cow slaughter is 2.6 percent larger as well year over year. Some analysts are watching the number of “factories” finding their way to the marketplace. Dressed steer slaughter weights have decreased to 842 pounds for w/e 5/25 and 6/1, the lowest in two years.
Choice boxed-beef remains above 220.00 which is pretty solid footing and impressive. Father’s Day is this weekend and with many beef features being promoted hopefully we will have good grilling weather and good retail clearance. Good weekend clearance for Father’s Day would certainly help next week’s fill in the retail business. For the week, the Choice cutout closed 0.08 lower at 222.23, while Select was 4.16 lower at 202.76. Cattle Slaughter under federal inspection estimated at 665K for the week, 3K more than last week and 17K more than a year ago. Auction volume this week included 55 percent weighing over 600 lbs and 42 percent heifers.