Sort & Cull

Bull Spreaders Take Hold of Cattle Market Again

ShayLe Stewart
By  ShayLe Stewart , DTN Livestock Analyst
Now that external pressures have seemed to wane, the cattle market is back to its bull run as both feeder cattle and fat cattle prices are sharply higher. (DTN file photo by Jim Patrico)

There's an old children's folk song that says, "Spring showers bring May flowers," but I'm beginning to believe that the fruit of the season may be blooming in April instead of May this spring!

Last week's market was what bull-spreaders' dreams are made of. The fat cattle market stormed higher, with trade ranging from $3.00 to $4.00 higher in the South and $4.50 to $9.50 higher in the North. Feedlots know their position -- they know the market is in short supply of market-ready cattle, and given the unshakable demand from consumers, feedlots continue to sit in the driver's seat of this year's cash cattle market. At some point, the market will see a spring top made, but pinpointing when that time will come remains incredibly difficult as packers continue to pull cattle forward and we know that supplies in the second half of the year will be alarmingly thinner than what they are now.

But the market's momentum doesn't stop there! Last week, the feeder cattle complex had just as much fire underneath of it.

Feeder cattle traded anywhere from $1.00 to $6.00 higher throughout the countryside compared to the previous week. The feeder cattle complex continues to lean on the live cattle market for support, but after trading cautiously all week, the feeder cattle complex ended the week's trade on a high note as the contracts gapped higher and nearly leaped into the weekend. With moisture continuing to bless the countryside, buyers have remained aggressive in procuring the calves/feeders they want, as they know that the closer we get to summer, the thinner the numbers will become.

Earlier this spring, the market seemed to be set on "pause" as traders were leery about supporting the complex amid banking turmoil. However, now that that outside pressures has seemed to diminish, cattlemen are taking back their bullish run as they know they only have a short time do so. So long as moisture continues to accumulate, and consumer demand remains strong, this bull run should have no problem continuing in its upward trek.

ShayLe Stewart can be reached at


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