Courtesy of lmic.info

Kansas State University’s Focus on Feedlots updated feedlot performance data for steers and heifers through May of this year. In the data set the year-to-date average final steer weight through May this year was 1,432 pounds, 4.5% or 61.4 pounds above last year. A similar trend occurred in year-to-date average heifer final weights which were 4.1% (51.4 pounds) higher to 1,296 pounds. Interestingly, average days on feed for both steers and heifers through May has averaged 182.8 and 175.8 days, respectively which are up 0.1% and down 1.7%. Average days on feed for steers jumped 13 days to 203 which is the highest recorded for May and a single month in the data series.

Average daily gains for both steers and heifers have been tracking above the same time last year with year-to-date averages of 3.6 pounds per day and 3.2 pounds per day, respectively, each 8.0% and 6.8% higher. Average daily gains have been improving as the average cost of gain for steers and heifers has been declining. In May, the average cost of gain for steers was $83.90 per cwt., down 1.8% while heifers have declined 2.3% to $88.40 per cwt compared to last year.

The higher than normal final weights in the KSU feedlot data is also occurring in national weekly live slaughter weights. Typically, weights trend lower going into the summer months then rise over the fall time frame. This year weights have taken a counter-seasonal move and remained elevated through the summer months. Year-to-date, weekly Federally Inspected live weights have averaged 1,371 pounds compared to 1,337 for the same time last year, a 34 pound or 2.5% increase. As the cattle sector is rebounding from the COVID-19 disruptions and working through the backlog of market ready cattle, slaughter weights are expected to remain elevated.

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