Cattle futures opened with mixed results yesterday, before exploding upwards midday, amid further strength in the boxed beef markets and some astonishing gains in the cash cattle markets. A firmer cash trade was expected, but I don’t think anyone thought we would see the strength that developed yesterday. Cash cattle traded as high as $135 live in the South, up $12 from last week, and $212 dressed in the North, also up $12 from last week. In two short weeks, we’ve seen the cash cattle markets move $18 higher on a live basis in the South and $28 higher on a dressed basis in the North. Winter weather has impacted performance and these holiday-shortened trading weeks have further limited production. I will be curious to see if these gains are sustainable as the calendar rolls over to January, slaughter rates return to normal and weather conditions start to moderate. In the meantime, cattle producers have seen much needed rally. Look for the cattle markets to start out near steady today. And remember, nearby December live cattle futures expire at 12pm ct.
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