The battle between packers and feedlots delayed last week's cash cattle trade until Friday afternoon. Packers reluctantly gave anywhere from $1.00 to $1.50 more than the week before, but they were able to get some cattle bought with time. Last week's negotiated cash cattle trade totaled 82,805 head, with 74% (60,892 head) committed to the nearby delivery and the remaining 26% (21,913 head) committed to the deferred delivery.
The big question rolling into this week's market is: Did packers get enough cattle bought last week to keep cash cattle prices steady this week?
With packers operating at scant margins, they've tried nearly every trick in the book -- from reducing processing speeds to cutting weekend shifts -- to try to curb their need of supporting the cash market, and consequently having to push prices higher. However, the limited supplies of market-ready cattle have kept packers more engaged in the market than they'd like to be and will undoubtedly continue to be the story headline for the remainder of the year.
Trade will likely be delayed until late in the week again this week, and it's anyone's guess on how prices will fare. Given that packers were able to get cattle bought for the deferred delivery option both last week and the week before, steady prices could be the tone of this week's cash cattle market. Showlists appear to be mixed this week, with fewer cattle available in Texas, Nebraska and Colorado, but slightly more available in Kansas.
Regardless, if prices remain steady or scale back slightly, neither feedlot managers nor packers intend to give the other party an easy victory this week!
ShayLe Stewart can be reached at ShayLe.Stewart@dtn.com
(c) Copyright 2023 DTN, LLC. All rights reserved.