Why beef prices are up and cattle prices are down

Beef Magazine
By: Brett Crosby
Apr 02, 2020

Choice wholesale beef prices spiked $45.61 per cwt higher week to week on March 20, as COVID-19 forced consumers to stay home, shifting significant beef demand away from the food service sector to retail grocery. Even though prices softened since then, Choice boxed beef cutout value March 30 was still 11% higher than a year earlier.

At the same time, plummeting cash prices for calves, feeder cattle and fed cattle that had to be marketed meant catastrophic losses for some producers, if the cattle weren’t hedged or forward-priced ahead of the COVID-19 panic.

There are many reasons for the seeming disconnect between beef prices and cattle prices, but these are primary ones, in my opinion.

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