Cattle market struggles continue

Limited margins and capacity, high feed prices and a drought are working against the cattle markets.


Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension

via BEEF Magazine - May 03, 2021


Fed cattle markets rallied early in April but have stalled again and pulled back below $120/cwt. the last week of April. Ample supplies of fed cattle continue to hang over the market as feedlots struggle to get more current.  Meanwhile boxed beef has pushed upward with Choice values at $296.50/cwt. the last Friday in April. Select boxed beef was $283.05/cwt. at the end of the month.


Beef packers have very large margins and appear to be trying to push kills in the face of limited capacity. Saturday steer and heifer kills for the last two weeks of actual slaughter data were both above 55,000 head, very large Saturday numbers. Saturday steer and heifer slaughter thus far in 2021 is up 58 percent over 2020 and up more than 92 percent over 2019 levels. The most recent data shows steer carcass weights at 898 pounds, up from 889 pounds this same week one year ago and 857 pounds in 2019. Heifer carcass weights were 837 pounds in the most recent data compared to 823 pounds last year and 799 pounds in the same week in 2019.


Feed grain prices continue to push sharply higher...


The drought situation becomes more critical each day...