Cattle markets show some signs of improvement


By Jennifer Whitlock, Texas Farm Bureau

Jul 19, 2021 


After facing wild swings during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, cattle prices are showing signs of improvement.


However, there are many factors at play that can influence cattle markets in both the short- and long term, according to Texas A&M University Professor and Extension Economist Dr. David Anderson.


Feeder cattle prices are currently being pressured by high feed costs, particularly for corn and soybean meal. Anderson noted this year’s fed cattle prices are more than $25 per hundredweight higher than they were a year ago and above the five-year average, but they are still not as high as ranchers and cattle feeders would like to see.


“We still face some problems in terms of capacity constraint. We have less packing capacity than in years past with the pandemic and plants operating slower, so that leads to two things: higher prices at wholesale and retail, but lower prices for cattle producers,” he said. “But we are seeing some higher prices as supplies of cattle begin to tighten up a little bit. We’ve got some higher prices for fed cattle, and I think that’s supporting calf and feeder prices, as well, in the last few weeks.”