Sort & Cull

Do Not Get Complacent

ShayLe Stewart
By  ShayLe Stewart , DTN Livestock Analyst
This is a season of learning how to endure a rollercoaster ride that is not done yet in the cattle business. (Photo by Kayla Sargent)

If you were to describe cattlemen, adjectives like hardworking, determined and unwavering come to mind. But in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day business, it's sometimes difficult for cattlemen to keep track of all the market's moving parts. Coming off the rollercoaster prices that COVID-19 introduced into the marketplace -- and the sinking feeling we got at times -- we all yearn for a healthy, stable transparent market.

Thankfully, last week we saw beef slaughter top more than 600,000 head -- hallelujah! But just because the market reached the 600,000-head mark doesn't mean the backlog of cattle is worked through, cash cattle prices will rally or that beef demand is back to normal levels. In fact, all these points have yet to be worked out. Although COVID-19's impact struck the second quarter of the year, the third quarter will spend a lot of time ironing out the remaining issues and still trying to help the market reach some essence of normal.

In the weeks ahead of us, it's going to be crucial to keep track of the various moving pieces of the market like we did when we initially heard of COVID-19. Given that last week's cash prices weakened anywhere from $2 to $10, depending on the region, and that choice cuts fell $76.14 and select cuts fell $70.40 in one week's time, this indicates the market is far from slowing down.

Cattlemen -- we cannot grow complacent. This rollercoaster ride isn't over yet. This is a season of learning how to endure and adapt to the ride.

ShayLe Stewart can be reached at


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