Cash cattle prices up more than $25.00/cwt than a year ago


Jeff Swenson, Wisconsin State Farmer

Jan 8, 20221


Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.


Fed cattle prices were $3.00/cwt higher when the dust settled last week as packers worked the country to buy cattle for this week’s production. Feedlot operators were holding out for steady money this week and trade was slow to develop. Early week sales at auction markets were showing mostly steady prices. Cash cattle prices are more than $25.00/cwt higher than a year ago.


Harvest estimates for the week ending January 1 came in at 537,000 head, 49,000 head higher than the week of Christmas and 22,000 head more than the same week last year. There was optimism harvest numbers would beat 650,000 head per week in early 2022, but there are reports of higher absentee rates in all areas of the supply chain. However, it is not as high as the spring of 2020.


Traders have been nervous about the rise in COVID-19 cases. Live Cattle futures closed $2.00 lower Tuesday but rebounded somewhat by Thursday. There is optimism for steady or higher prices as supply decreases, if demand remains high and cattle are able to move through the system.


Cold temperatures in many cattle feeding regions of the country will limit cattle weight gains and could make fewer cattle available in the short term.


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