Market Highlights: Cattle Market Is Like an Untrained Dog

By: Andrew P Griffith, University of Tennessee FED CATTLE: Fed cattle traded steady compared to last week on a live basis. Live prices were mainly $124 to $125 while dressed prices were mainly $204 to $205. The 5-area weighted average prices thru Thursday were $124.73 live, up $0.30 from last week and $204.62 dressed, up $0.59 from a week ago. A year ago prices were $117.47 live and $187.62 dressed. Live cattle futures are displaying reasons for optimism in the finished cattle market, but beef packers do not seem to be interested. The beef market is inching ever closer to grilling season and the unofficial start of summer that comes with Memorial Day weekend grilling. One might surmise that this should provide some support in the near term, but it may take the passing of Easter before interest in beef begins to soar. Market participants should also consider that feedlots will become more interested in filling pen space as favorable weather conditions become more evident and as wet pens dry. In some instances, it appears the market is priming the pump to make a run.BEEF CUTOUT: At midday Friday, the Choice cutout was $228.73 down $0.10 from Thursday and up $2.00 from last Friday. The Select cutout was $221.78 up $1.83 from Thursday and up $2.04 from last Friday. The Choice Select spread was $6.95 compared to $6.99 a week ago. The April World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report was released this week with an expectation of domestic beef production reaching 27.28…

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