The cash market improved last week and our expert panel foresees the trend continuing due to the two rounds of snow storms moving across the Midwest. Snow has kept people at home a few times in the past week, limiting processing plant operations and decreasing show lists.
Cash cattle and wholesale beef prices moved higher with fewer head of cattle processed, down 22,000 head on Monday to 87,000. Our Monday Market Sentiment panel predicts a second consecutive week of gains, forecasting an increase of $1.43 to $125.15 per cwt.
The Monday Market Sentiment is a forecast of the upcoming weekly cash trade (5-Area weighted average price) prices reported by the USDA. This week’s prices improved, ending two consecutive weeks of losses. The cash market gained $1.02 last week, missing the Monday Market Sentiment forecast by only 14 cents. Last week the USDA announced that cash trade for the week ending February 22nd was $123.72 per cwt.
Reuters reports cattle slaughter has decreased since late last week resulting in less retail beef. The lower quantities have help improve wholesale beef prices and packer margins. The storms add a challenge for feeders who must increase feed intake for their cattle or see cattle weights fall sharply.
Each week the Cattle Trader Center, on behalf of Vance Publishing, awards a $100 gift certificate from Cabela's to the industry leader whose forecast comes closest to the 5-Area cash trade number reported by the USDA. The most recent winner was Mark Engler, Cactus Feeders.