Fed cattle prices set new record highs this week going above $130/cwt for the first time. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $132.30/cwt, up $2.91 from trade estimates for last week and up $5.69 from the same week last year. Steers sold on a dressed basis averaged $207.80/cwt this week. That is $9.84 higher than a year ago.

USDA-AMS is filling in missing data from the federal government's partial shutdown earlier this month. They say the average fed cattle price for beef breeds sold on a live weight basis for October 1-16 was $126.73/cwt for steers and $126.74/cwt for heifers. The average live weight was 1,401 pounds for these steers and 1,262 pounds for the heifers. Dressed prices averaged $198.69/cwt for steers and $198.73 for heifers over the October 1-16 period. The average dressed weight for the steers was 918 pounds. The heifer dressed weight averaged 814 pounds.

This morning, the boxed beef cutout value for choice carcasses was $200.19/cwt, up $4.78 from the previous Friday and up $2.71 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout is at $185.18/cwt, up $5.19 for the week and up $3.91 from the same day last year.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 618,000 head, up 0.2% from last week, but down 4.3% from a year ago.

The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on October 5 was 875 pounds, up 8 pounds from the week before, down 5 pounds from a year earlier, and below year-ago for the fourth consecutive week.

Oklahoma City feeder cattle auction prices for medium and large frame #1 steers this week were: 400-450# $210-$217, 450-500# $196-$207, 500-550# $178.50-$198.50, 550-600# $169-$185, 600-650# $160-$176.50, 650-700# $154.50-$176.75 700-750# $147-$173.50, 750-800# $150-$170, 800-900# $150.50-$164.50, and 900-1000# $144-$149/cwt.

The October live cattle futures contract closed at $132.57/cwt today, up $2.70 from last week's close. December fed cattle settled at $132.97, up 95 cents for the week.

The October feeder cattle futures contract ended the week at $165.55/cwt, down 52 cents from the previous Friday. November feeder cattle settled at $166.65, down 20 cents for the week.

The government jobs report says only 148,000 jobs were added during September. That was below expectations and worrisome for future meat demand.

Because of USDA's new rules for Country of Origin Labeling of meats (COOL), Tyson is no longer slaughtering Canadian steers and heifers in their U.S. plants unless they are fed in the U.S. Tyson says the COOL requirement to segregate beef makes it unprofitable for them to continue to slaughter cattle fed in Canada.

Source: Ron Plain and Scott Brown