Sort & Cull

Cash Cattle Prices Dip Lower

ShayLe Stewart
By  ShayLe Stewart , DTN Livestock Analyst
The cash cattle trade could have a large influence on how the upcoming feeder cattle market trades. (DTN photo by ShayLe Stewart)

We all knew it was coming -- with the days warming up and with a large amount of fat cattle throughout the countryside -- cash cattle prices were bound to nosedive. But questions of when, how fast and how much had cattlemen gritting their teeth.

Throughout the summer, it is inevitable that cash cattle prices will weaken: This is when the most amount of fat cattle are readily available. Packers can cheapen their bids, since they have minimal need to commit cattle for kill -- even during a normal year -- and they are entering this summer with a backlog of cattle.

Feeders know this annual trend is unavoidable, but the sector of the livestock industry that watches these trends just as close is the cow-calf producers.

The usual ebb and flow of the cattle market was wilder this year because of COVID-19's impact, but for the most part the industry moves together. Cow-calf producers are heading into this summer more concerned than most years. As the countryside yearns for a good drink of water, the days flirt with scorching high temperatures, and hay prices rise as fat cattle need maintenance rations, the cattlemen wait with skepticism.

In the next couple of weeks, there will be a slew of specialty feeder calf sales. Pay attention to how the cash cattle market trades amid these scheduled sales. How these first initial sales fare could largely influence the market's overall outcome.

ShayLe Stewart can be reached at


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