The spring rally in negotiated cash cattle prices continued last week as trade in the South developed early in the week with packers more aggressive than in recent weeks.
Cash cattle prices in all regions saw higher prices for the second consecutive week as packers found tightening supplies of market-ready cattle.
Cash fed cattle traded at steady money for a sixth consecutive week. A late-winter storm brought some much-needed moisture to the High Plains.
There appeared to be more cattle trade than what we have seen for several weeks, but with only one or two packers needing cattle it was difficult for feeders to push the market higher.
Packers, as usual, were in a position of leverage and needed very little cattle for the next week’s harvest. This continues to be the biggest problem with driving the cash price higher.
Beef production slowed to a virtual standstill in the South due to extreme winter weather. Heavy demand on electricity and natural gas limited packers from running at capacity, and their need for inventory was limited.
Four packers participated in negotiated cash trade in the South last week, but their bids were disappointing as none needed additional inventory.
Cash cattle markets continued its painfully slow climb higher last week, and most feeder anticipated the gain would be faster. Feedyard costs are on the rise, and any gains are most welcome.