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Fed Cattle Steady, Boxed Beef Steadily Declines

Cash fed cattle prices continued to trade in a wide range at steady prices. Cattle in the South traded at $115 to $120 live and $180 to $190 dressed.

The week’s best news was found in steadily increasing slaughter totals. Even during a holiday-shortened week, estimated cattle slaughter is over 500,000 head, which suggests output is nearing 90% of what analysts expect as normal. The week ending May 22 saw slaughter at 555,000 head compared to 647,000 head for the same week in 2019.

Boxed beef prices continued dropping at nearly the same rate they advanced in late April and early May. Thursday’s Choice boxed beef cutout closed at $369.56 per cwt., or $31 per cwt. lower than last Friday. Select closed Thursday at $344.09 per cwt., or $32 lower than last Friday.

Larger slaughter numbers and declining wholesale beef prices will narrow packer margins and improve retail margins in the weeks ahead. Narrowing packer margins and weaker post-Father’s Day beef demand will add to the pressure on fed cattle prices.

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By: Drovers

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