Cattle prices continue to disappoint both ranchers and feedyards. Demand for yearling feeder cattle held firm through late May and early June, but calf prices declined 5 percent. Average prices are $20 per hundredweight lower than last year.
Feedyard margins eroded throughout May, with losses expected through mid-summer. Packers saw their margins improve throughout the spring. The steer-corn ratio dropped 1.35 over the past month, but livestock producers are counting on a bumper corn crop to lower feeding costs and improve profitability. Pork and poultry production increased last month and retail prices declined, increasing beef’s competition at the supermarket. Demand for beef remains sluggish, and retail beef prices held at relatively high levels.