Packers are scrambling to fill orders and keep cattle moving through the pipeline ahead of the beef's biggest sales weekend of the year - Memorial Day. That much is evident from two weeks of higher prices that added $12 to $13 to cash bids – and this week’s not over.
Wednesday’s reported cash fed cattle sales ranged from $143 to $146 in the South, and in the North cattle traded at $145 to $147. Dressed bids were reported at $230 to $232, an incredible $13 to $15 per cwt higher. Those prices are not misprints.
Wednesday’s frantic activity came after cash fed cattle leaped $5 higher last week.
Analysts say there are multiple factors that can claim credit for the rally, and at least some is due to the harsh winter snow storm that hit the cattle feeding belt last week. But supplies of market-ready cattle were already extremely tight, with feedyards pulling everything they could forward to cash in on the higher spring prices.
Carcass weights have been running 30 pounds lighter than a year ago, beef exports are significantly higher and imports are down. And there's plenty of evidence consumer demand is robust.