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CME: Weekly Feeder Cattle Receipts Above Year Earlier Volumes

09 January 2019

US - Weekly feeder cattle receipts, as reported by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) in SJ_LS850 ran above year earlier volumes in each week of December, reports Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

Data for the holiday week ending 28 December was not reported due to the lack of trade activity. Trade in the just-completed week of 4 January slipped below a year earlier but the timing of the New Year’s holiday on Tuesday kept trade that normally would take place early in the week delayed until following weeks.

Receipts are tabulated across three market channels; auctions, direct trade, and internet or video auctions. During the first three weeks of December, trade through all channels topped year earlier volume by 30,000-50,000 per week, or about 10-20 percent.

Heifer trade volume accounted for about 10,000 of the increase during the first two weeks and accelerated to an 18,000 head increase in the week before Christmas. These increases imply that steer receipts were up as much, or more, than heifer receipts.

Trade volumes through auction barns during December were not up in each week of December, as was the case for all feeder cattle market receipts. The first week was down 1 percent from a year earlier, followed by a 6 percent increase in the second week and a 37 percent increase in the last significant marketing week of the month.

The jump in receipts was more due to a big dip in receipts in the third week of December in 2017 instead of a spike this year. It is not unusual for winter storms to play havoc with the flow of cattle through auction barns at this time of year. Also, mild winter weather in the middle of last month could have encouraged accelerated marketings of feeder cattle before the late December holidays.

The break-out of feeder cattle receipts based on weights of cattle showed an interesting trend. Receipts of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds (e.g. calves) began to run above year earlier levels steadily, and by a significant amount, beginning with the week ending 26 October. The only exception was the week of 9 November.

Trade receipts for lighter weight feeder cattle during the three weeks in December were up 8, 32, and 33 percent, respectively, from the same weeks in 2017. Trade receipts for feeder cattle weighing over 600 pounds (shown below) were up 8 percent from a year ago in December.

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