The lack of cash cattle trades did not help the overall market last week. The South traded at $112 as the week began while later-week trades tailed off to $105. Many cash traders were willing sellers but could not find a bid on volumes of average or above cattle.
Before the $105 trade most of the US had traded fewer cattle than what some states had traded the week before.
The North was not immune to the falling prices. Cash prices for them were also at $112 and dressed cattle up to $180. This continued to be a disappointment for them as well.
As good as the run up in prices were, the decline has begun. This is seen in both live cattle and in the boxed beef. Retailers have begun to fill their needs and are beginning to turn away high-priced loads of boxed beef.
The free-fall in live cattle is beginning to show that we are entering our extra-large surplus of market ready cattle that everyone knew was looming around the corner. Producers should expect that numbers of market ready cattle will continue to grow.
All eyes are watching to see if packers will be able to keep plants open and operating at a decent level. If a major plant has to close due to COVID-19 it could be a devastating blow to an already depressed cattle market.