The late great George Carlin had a routine about a weather forecaster. The forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark throughout the night, with scattered light in the morning. Some predictions are easy.
In early 2017 cattle producers were frustrated by price levels below where fundamental indications suggested they could be.
Cattle feeding profit margins retreat further with a weaker cash market and limited packer interest.
A strong domestic economy and robust exports have buffered beef, and hence, cattle prices against near record large U.S. beef production and all-time highs in competing meats and poultry supplies.
Silver linings are hard to find in a cattle market just two years removed from record-high prices—but they exist.
The beef cattle industry has experienced some extraordinary dynamics in the past decade that provoked unprecedented volatility and record price levels.
Beef cow slaughter year-to-date through the first week of October was 11% higher than last year, and that followed 2017's increase of 11%.
Cash cattle prices improved $1 per cwt., helping lift feeding margins to $118 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker.