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Cattle prices respond to economic changes

Agriculture.com Staff 02/12/2016 @ 10:40pm

The recent rebound in cattle prices has been somewhat of a surprise, considering big inventory numbers for the May/June time window were expected to keep prices suppressed.

However, when analyzing cattle prices over the last three months, the basic laws of economics seem to have once again prevailed.

Cattle prices were in a steep downtrend from early January until the end of April. In May, prices corrected by moving higher, but a significant rebound was not expected. However, prices have rallied more than $6.00 in the live market, and feeder cattle prices have had even a stronger move, rallying $8.00 to $10.00. What were the forces behind the rebound?

First, the weight of marketed animals moved downward by as much as 20 pounds. Lower prices and a discounted futures price to cash left feedlots with little or no incentive to add extra weight. In addition, with corn prices rallying, feed costs increased. Therefore, while the number of market-ready animals remained large, decreasing poundage was a big benefit to help reduce inventory issues.

On the other side of the coin, demand increased after prices slid. In other words, basic market forces came into play. As prices declined, quantity demanded increased. Evidence of improving demand may have been partially represented in the spread difference between choice and select cuts. Choice cuts from heavier animals will often trade close to or equal to the same value as select cuts when there are ample supplies of market-ready animals. However, when feedlots become current and the availability of choice animals decreases, often the spread differential between the cuts widens. This was another sign that feedlots were current and cattle prices could rebound.

In summary, declining prices led to increased demand. Declining prices also encouraged producers to stay more current. It appears the cattle market has been a typical economic model representing changes by both consumers and producers.

If you have any questions, contact Top Farmer at 1-800-TOP-FARM, ext. 129.

The recent rebound in cattle prices has been somewhat of a surprise, considering big inventory numbers for the May/June time window were expected to keep prices suppressed.

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Supposed "good price?" kind of a "matter of opinio 12/21/2010 @ 7:59am Hide and offal is a new all time high. say $12 + cwt. Going higher too, Pac Basin building tons of cars. CHEAPEST Beef on the globe though happens to be in the good ole usa. ( perhaps that's why exports so high ). Beef 3X higher in Russia than in the usa. That's perhaps why live cattle exports to there have been record each of the past 3 years. Lotta Angus cows have been boated or flown over, some ranches closed up shop in the usa...operators left with cattle too. Canada also sending plenty of cattle over. Stevenson Sputnick Ranch pretty good example, they just took approx 1,450 Angus and Herfy cows over to the Voronezh Region ( SW Russia ). Beef in the EU, 2 1/2X higher than the usa. Beef SA ( BR ) just a bare touch higher ( nickel to a dime per lb higher in the stores there ) than in the usa. Beef in the Pac Basin say 2.5X hgiher than the usa. Jeez, since usa packers supposedly not making much....the shipping cos must be printing more profit hauling the stuff than it was ever worth at the usa plants. LOL. Within 5 years usa will be OUT of the cattle business...and sold it out cheap too. Perhaps we'll get to import some meat back though from those new offshore production operations. Gonna cost about 10X more than we're used to paying now...but then again, "no one paying attention nor truely counting anyway from the usa."

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