Cattle feeders continued to place more cattle in February than most analysts expected, according to the monthly Cattle on Feed report. Total cattle on feed was about 9% more than last year.
Looming increased cattle supplies with more steers in the mix, limited pen space and the specter of trade-limiting tariffs added bearishness to the weekly cattle market.
Steers and heifers traded lower this week but there were instances of higher prices at some markets
Changes to how USDA assesses carcass maturity are likely helping more cattle grade at the highest level.
Demand continued strongest for grazing cattle, while softer futures prices and expected supply increases dampened the market for cattle headed to the feedlot.
Calf and feeder prices soften this week
U.S. beef export value in January averaged $293.06 per head of fed slaughter, up 14% year over year.
Despite strong current fundamentals, looming beef supplies are weighing on market psychology.
Feeder cattle futures dropped this week as limited feedlot space and volatility over possible trade barriers play with buyer's confidence