The cash cattle market increased last week, ending three weeks of drastic losses totaling $5.55 per cwt. Last Friday’s report confirmed the cattle inventory is at its lowest in 61 years as feed costs reached record highs during last summer’s drought. Our panel of industry experts predicts cash cattle to move higher this week, improving by 62 cents to $125.79 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 increased, up $2.58 from the previous week. Last week the USDA announced that cash trade for the week ending February 1 was $125.17 per cwt.

Although the cash market improved last week, traders remain cautious with the recent fall in wholesale beef prices. Packers have felt the effects of tighter cattle supplies for a while. Last week there were 115,000 head of cattle slaughtered, down 11,000 from the previous week and 8,000 lower than the same week a year earlier.

Reuters reports cash prices were supported by severe weather in the western Plains which cut the number of livestock sent to market.

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 Terry Ryan, JBS Five Rivers.

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