Cash cattle trade was slightly higher last week with the 5-Area weighted average price only a penny lower than our panel’s prediction. Although prices improved, trade was fairly light last week as packers didn’t need to buy. That may change this week as retail beef demand is expected to increase ahead of the Independence Day holiday. Packers may be more aggressive this week to restock beef supplies ahead of the big weekend, but ample supply is expected to move cash prices lower overall.

With higher trade expected, our Monday Market Sentiment panel forecasts market prices to fall 38 cents to $120.40 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 by nine cents, ending six consecutive weeks of lower trade during which the market lost $8.31 per cwt. Last week the USDA announced that cash trade for the week ending June 21 was $120.78 per cwt.

The number of cattle placed in feedlots declined last month, however the USDA figures were not as low as expected. Traders will look to market demand as wholesale beef prices trended lower and ample supplies may lead to lower cash prices. Feeders do have some good news ahead as lower corn values improving margins by reducing feedlot input costs.

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 Eric McMillan, Cattle Empire.

Join our team of industry professionals to predict this week's cash trade. Click here for contest rules. Click here to register.