Cash fed cattle prices eclipsed last week’s all-time record by posting gains of $3 to $4 per hundredweight this week. Packers came into the market early and often this week in an attempt to fill orders.
Cattle traded in the Midwest at $132 to $134 per cwt., and $207 to $208 per cwt. on a dressed basis. Southern Plains direct markets reported prices at $131 to $133 per cwt.
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Feedyards priced cattle higher to begin the week, and packers upped their bids at mid-week to secure cattle in a market driven by tight supplies. Boxed beef prices moved significantly higher during the week, with Friday’s Choice boxed beef ending at $201.07 and Select at $185.68. The Choice-Select spread was $15.39.
Packers are losing $50 to $60 for every animal they process, and they have reduced their kills in recent days. The number will be further reduced by Tyson Foods’ announcement that they will no longer buy harvest-ready cattle from Canadian sources. The company said the increased costs of complying with new country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations forced their decision.