The October USDA Cattle on Feed report said there were 2.3% more cattle on feed on October 1 than a year ago. The report said September placements were down 4.1% and marketings were down 2.4% compared to September 2014.
There is a lot of meat in cold storage right now. According to USDA's monthly Cold Storage report, there were 496 million pounds of beef in cold storage at the end of September. This is up 5.5% from the month before and up 31.3% compared to a year ago. This is the most frozen beef ever for the end of September and the most for any month since April 2013.
Frozen pork stocks were up 19.2% year-over-year and frozen chicken up 27.9% at the end of September. The amount of turkey in cold storage was down 6.4% compared to September 2014. The amount of red meat in cold storage was up 2% from the month before and up 24% from a year ago. The total amount of red meat in storage was the most ever for the end of September and the total frozen stocks of red meat and poultry was the most for any month ever (at least in my data set).
This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $217.04/cwt, up $5.83 from the previous Friday, but down $30.00 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $210.89/cwt up $4.72 from last week, but down $21.55 from last year.
Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $130.00/cwt, up $6.80 from last week's average, but down $38.67 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $207.10/cwt, up $8.54 for the week, but down $56.71 compared to the same week last year.
The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on October 10 was 928 pounds, up 4 pounds from the week before, up 29 pounds compared to the same week last year, above the year-ago level for the 69th consecutive week, and record high for the second week in a row. Steer dressed weights have set records in 5 of the last 6 weeks.
Cattle slaughter this week totaled 556,000 head, down 3.0% from the week before and down 3.8% from the same week last year.
Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were steady to $5 higher this week. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $229-$239, 450-500# $214-$239, 500-550# $200-$233.50, 550-600# $194-$213.50, 600-650# $185-$208.50, 650-700# $160-$207.50, 700-750# $177-$199.50, 750-800# $176-$200.50, 800-900# $177-$197.25 and 900-1000#, $168.75-$179/cwt.
Cattle futures were higher this week. The October live cattle futures contract settled at $141.02/cwt today, up $5.07 for the week. December fed cattle settled at $143.40/cwt, up $3.97 from the previous week.
October feeder cattle ended the week at $195.05/cwt, up $1.25 from a week earlier. November gained $3.10 this week and closed at $193.25/cwt.