Meat & Livestock News

US Livestock Market Sees Robust Trade with Over 368,000 Head of Cattle Auctioned

In a comprehensive nationwide overview of livestock auctions, the USDA reported a substantial volume of trade in the week ending 11 November 2023. Auctions across the United States saw a grand total of 368,549 head of cattle going under the hammer.

Feeder cattle, young animals raised for beef production, constituted the bulk of the trade, accounting for 310,734 of the total head counted. Slaughter cattle – those ready for processing – followed with 44,818 head. The data also showed a smaller but significant trade in replacement cattle, which include animals intended to enter the breeding herd, totalling 11,370 head. In the dairy sector, feeder dairy calves and replacement dairy cattle saw trades of 1,342 and 285 head respectively.

In terms of weighted averages, which reflect the total reported volume and not just the head offered for sale, feeder cattle averaged $242.99 per hundredweight (CWT) across 240,881 head. Prices for replacement cattle were notably higher, averaging $395.33 CWT across 692 head, reflecting their value for breeding purposes.

The report also provided insights into price fluctuations over a rolling 365-day period. It highlighted the correlation between feeder cattle prices and corn prices, which is a significant feed ingredient. Prices for feeder cattle in the 400-600 pound range and the 600-900 pound range showed variations in tandem with corn prices in South Iowa, reflecting the interdependence between livestock and grain markets.

Additionally, the weekly price and volume chart for slaughter cows depicted a steady trade with prices hovering around the $80.00 CWT mark, alongside a headcount that peaked and troughed, suggesting a responsive market to supply and demand dynamics.

With 213 markets reporting, the USDA continues to offer valuable data for producers, traders, and analysts in the agricultural sector, providing transparency and insight into market trends and economic conditions affecting the livestock industry.