Cattle Market Round Up:

This week’s cattle market has presented a mixed picture, with choppy trading and some headwinds for feeder cattle. Here’s a breakdown of the key movers and shakers, incorporating the latest pricing information.

Live Cattle:

  • Market Ready Cattle: A solid rally occurred in the North, countered by steady prices in the South. This suggests regional price variations and potential for further consolidation. Cash trade on April 29th reported $184-186 in the North, up $2 from the previous week, and $182-183 in the South, steady compared to the prior week.
  • Cash Prices: Prices hovered near breakeven for many cattle owners, putting pressure on margins.
  • Futures: Live cattle futures remained relatively flat, indicating some wait-and-see sentiment from traders. Live Cattle Futures (June contract) closed at $185.40 on April 29th, slightly higher than the previous week’s closing price.

Feeder Cattle:

  • Rally Fizzles: Feeder cattle futures experienced a short-lived rally early in the week, followed by a correction and a two-day decline. This indicates potential profit-taking and a cautious market. Feeder Cattle Futures (August contract) closed at $248.03 on April 29th, down from the previous week’s close.
  • Technical Support: In the coming days, critical technical support levels will be crucial to watch to gauge market sentiment and potential buying opportunities. This highlights the potential for positive market movements and opportunities for growth.

Key Drivers:

  • Packer Margins: Improved packer margins in recent weeks might incentivize increased slaughter rates, potentially boosting demand for feeder cattle in the near term. However, holiday-shortened slaughter schedules later this month could disrupt this pattern.
  • Feed Costs: Lower corn prices relieved cattle feeders, potentially mitigating production costs and influencing feeder cattle market dynamics.
  • HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) Concerns: The market has largely shrugged off initial concerns surrounding HPAI’s impact on cattle, focusing instead on core fundamentals.

Looking Ahead:

  • Packer Demand: Monitoring slaughter rates and packer buying activity will be essential. Increased slaughter activity could signal renewed demand for feeder cattle.
  • Holiday Impact: The upcoming holiday-shortened weeks could lead to volatile trading patterns and potentially influence cash and futures markets.
  • Technical Indicators: Technical analysis, particularly support levels in feeder cattle futures, will be crucial for gauging market direction and potential entry or exit points.


The cattle market navigated a week of mixed signals. While live cattle saw regional strength, feeder cattle faced headwinds from profit-taking and technical corrections. Packer demand and the upcoming holiday schedule will be critical factors influencing the market direction in the near term. 

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