The cash market took a surprising turn last week closing over a dollar lower after snowstorms rushed the market higher in previous weeks. Traders expecting a week of higher trade based on continually high beef prices and strong export sales were surprised by the lower trade. A survey of cattle-industry leaders shows markets will churn higher this week predicting the average price for cash cattle will improve by 19 cents to $126.87 per cwt this week.

The Monday Market Sentiment is a forecast of the upcoming weekly cash trade (5-Area weighted average price) prices reported by the USDA. Last week the USDA announced that cash trade for the week ending March 15th was $126.68, a $1.09 decline from the previous week.

Lower cash prices aren’t helping feedlots who are dealing with soggy conditions and a sharp drop in slaughter weights brought on by the snow. Meat packers who are still seeing high select beef prices benefitted from the drop in cash prices. Greg Henderson reports beef packer margins improved $20 per head, but losses persist totaling $14.52 per head.

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.