The cash market for fed cattle slid several dollars for the week ending Dec. 9. Whether that’s a one-week correction, a short-term holiday breather or the beginning of a longer-term trend, however, remains to be seen.

The weekly weighted average cash steer price for the Five Area region was $117.46 per cwt, compared with $120.58 the previous week, $3.12 lower. The Five Area weighted average cash dressed steer price was $187.06, compared with $189.91 the previous week, for a drop of $2.85.

The Five Area average formula price was $191.55, compared with $190.72 the previous week, making it 83 cents higher.

Now looking at volume, the Five Area formula sales volume totaled 188,457 head, compared with about 198,397 the previous week. The Five Area total cash steer and heifer volume was 84,731 head, compared with about 92,304 head the previous week.   

The estimated weekly total federally inspected cattle harvest was 633,000 head, compared with 608,000 head the same week last year, 25,000 head over last year.  The year-to-date total now is over 1.5 million head higher than last year. 

Nationally reported forward contract cattle harvest was about 56,000 head, compared with about 50,000 head the previous week. The packers have about 206,000 head of forward contracts available for December and 223,000 head in January.

The latest average national steer carcass weight for week ending Nov. 25 was 904 pounds, 2 pounds higher compared to 916 pounds the same week last year, which 2 pounds lower.

The Choice-Select spread was $19.62 on Friday, compared with $22.38 the previous week and a $17.26 spread last year. However, we’re approaching the time in December when the daily Choice rib primal normally starts a very big price plunge which impacts this spread.