Feedlot margins during April were significantly into the black and, based on the Sterling Marketing model, averaged about $400 per head compared to just under $30 per head a year earlier.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures jumped their 3.000 cents daily price limit while feeder cattle also rose sharply as traders exited short positions on expectations for higher prices in cash cattle markets
Fed cattle traded steady to $1 higher, supported by gains in CME futures. Feeder cattle were steady to $4 higher.
With cattle numbers still growing, cattle feeders have continued to move larger supplies of cattle through feedlots in a very timely manner.
Bred cow prices at auctions during the last quarter of 2018 were down 10-20% from a year earlier in key cattle production regions.
Cattle feeding profits declined $180 per head last week, yet closeouts remained $32 in the black.
Meaningful change isn’t accomplished overnight. More often, it happens slowly by chipping away piece by piece until something new suddenly takes shape.
Despite record high cattle prices, indications are the cattle herd is still shrinking.