Economic Indicators: Feeders, packers struggle with margins

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click image to zoom Average monthly prices for all classes of cattle were flat during October. Cattle feeders and beef packers continue to struggle with negative margins. Cattle feeders have seen average margins in the red for seven consecutive months. Optimism remains that better times are ahead, as supplies of market-ready cattle are tight and demand remains strong. Product ion costs declined modestly during October and the steer-corn ratio improved slightly. Pork and poultry remain competitive, as their production increased and retail prices dropped during the month. Calf and yearling prices will stay strong throughout the coming months as supplies continue to dwindle. Packers will continue to contend with poor margins through the end of the year, as cattle supplies decline and cash prices increase.

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