Economic Indicators: Poor margins remain

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Feedyards and packers continue their struggle with monumental losses. The red ink has taken the optimism out of a spring market, producing a contra-seasonal decline for stocker and feeder cattle. Average prices for both yearlings and grass cattle declined for the second consecutive month. Drought worries linger, despite multiple late-winter and early-spring snow events that will provide early-season grazing. Grain and feed prices ticked up again last month, while the steer-corn ratio was unchanged. Pork and poultry remain signifi cant threats to beef as both pork and poultry production increased during March. Retail beef prices trended higher despite soft demand. Cattle on feed numbers and beef production will trend lower into April, and demand and
usage will increase seasonally.

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