A look at cattle markets

The weather may put a damper on beef prices in the next couple of weeks.


Dr. Andrew Griffith, University of Tennessee

via BEEF Magazine - Feb 17, 2021




Fed cattle traded steady to $1 higher compared to last week on a live basis. Prices on a live basis were primarily $113 to $114 while dressed prices were mainly $180.


The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $113.78 live, up $0.50 compared to last week and $180.07 dressed, up $0.75 from a week ago. A year ago, prices were $118.88 live and $190.26 dressed.


It would appear the cash price is attempting to catch live cattle futures, but that process is tougher than herding cats. The cash price remains $2 lower than the February live cattle contract, and there are two weeks left to close the gap. The more optimistic part of the market is April live cattle trading near $125. The ability to reach or surpass this price level is dependent on beef demand. Beef supply may play a role as well if the extremely cold temperatures persist and result in reduced cattle performance in the feedlot. It is always difficult to predict markets and weather. In this particular case, the weather further influences the market. Cattle feeders may benefit from hedging some spring and summer marketings.