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Market Reports

Read new forecasts and indicators involving beef cattle and feed markets. Find out what factors are affecting prices.

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Packers continue to make gains on processing of fed cattle post-COVID-19 plant disruptions in the second quarter.

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Packers continue to make gains on the processing of fed cattle. Based on USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) data for actual and estimated slaughter of steers and heifers in August, the pace of fed cattle slaughtered appears to have risen above year-ago levels for the first time since March (see Figure 1).

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Meatpacking facilities have continued to recover weekday slaughter capacity and have used Saturday as an opportunity to improve overall weekly slaughter totals.

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Over the past two months at the time of this writing, U.S. beef packers had to implement new health protocols for dealing with COVID-19 that might have hindered their ability to process cattle.

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In first-quarter 2020, beef production reached record levels on the largest number of cattle slaughtered for the quarter since 2002 and the heaviest dressed weights since 2016.

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The spread of COVID-19 has caused shifts in the beef demand structure; coupled with global economic uncertainty, it is affecting the entire beef supply chain.

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