Markets for all classes of cattle remain 20% or more below a year ago, but Drovers indicators are a snapshot of the collective markets and their direction.
Feedyards found solid profits during January and packers enjoyed several months of good earnings—both positive indicators.
Production costs and animal performance suffered some last month on higher grain prices and winter weather. Retail beef prices are weakening, which should help move more product.
Retail prices for both pork and poultry are also lower, keeping the pressure on.
Beef cow and heifer slaughter tick up, suggesting expansion has slowed.
Note: This story appears in the February 2017 issue of Drovers.