By Cassie Fish,

The negotiated cash fed cattle trade is occurring at new highs for 2023 with the south trading at $167, north at $168 and western Nebraska $170. The prior average high for this bull market was $165.40 and was established three weeks ago. In 2015 for the last week in March, cash averaged $167.57.

This week’s trade is blowing the roof off as packers scramble to cover slaughter needs amidst tight market-ready fed cattle supplies. Some think this is the seasonal high. Others believe the cash market will top later than this given the weather delayed marketings in the north. Suffice it to say, there is a very good chance Q2 average fed cattle prices will beat Q1, and this is the last week in Q1.

The sharp seasonal decline in carcass weights and the percentage of choice grading cattle will both contribute to the bullishness in Q2.

Because the extreme short supply is loaded to the second half of 2023, a normal summer low may be unlikely if not impossible. It could be shallow and early.

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'The Beef' is published by Consolidated Beef Producers