Cash cattle markets continued trading in a wide range in both the northern and southern regions last week. The south saw live cattle prices range from $110 to $120 with three of the four packers participating in the live trade. The one packer that did not participate in the live trade did continue to accept grid cattle from producers other than their committed partners.
Northern feeders followed the same trading range with most of the live cattle trading in the $110 to $120 range and dressed cattle $170 to $185.
For the first time since COVID-19 issues began escalating, most of the major beef plants should be up and running this week. Many of the plants will operate at greatly reduced levels while managing through the absentee worker issues. Cattle harvest numbers continue to rise each week, however, and the plants have implemented aggressive measures to keep workers safe and compensated through the COVID-19 crisis.
Unfortunately, the constant media attention has escalated the fears of the employees. With worker unions using the fear to drive their own agendas, and the government paying workers incentives to sit at home rather than trying to earn a wage, we can only hope we are through the worst of the reduced harvest capacity.