Increasing supplies of red meat and poultry present a significant challenge for cattle markets. Beef production will be up nearly 6% this year, with another 4% on the way next year. Cattle feeders continue to struggle with negative margins, though their prospects have improved slightly over recent weeks. Calf and yearling owners are seeing prices 30% below 2015 and 60% lower than 2014. Meanwhile, pork and poultry production also increase—adding a level of competition at retail. Prices at the grocery store for all meats are trending modestly lower. Beef cow and heifer slaughter tick up, suggesting expansion has slowed.
Feeder cattle prices declined in October by 13% to 15% before regaining some losses in early November. Steers weighing 650 lb. remain well below last month and last year’s values, though buyer interest and demand has ticked higher.
Fed cattle markets dipped below the $100 threshold in October for the first time since December 2010. Early November brought a recovery, yet average prices remain 6% below the previous month and 12% to 15% below last year.
Note: This story appears in the November/December issue of Drovers.