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Cattle Futures Rise as Snowstorm May Curb Animal Weights

Winter weather impacts cattle prices.

Cattle rose for the first time last week on speculation that a winter storm sweeping across the U.S. may reduce animal weights, while beef exports jumped. Hogs fell, capping the longest decline since October 2008.

A weather system may drop more than 12 in. of snow in parts of the Great Plains, according to the National Weather Service. Steers averaged 1,385 lbs. in the first four days of this week, down 0.3% from a week earlier, government data show. Beef-export sales tripled in the week ended Feb. 14.

“Storms like this can certainly take weight off of cattle,” says Dennis Smith, an analyst at Archer Financial Services. “That’s been one of the bearish factors -- the heavyweight cattle -- while exports were outstanding.”

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.3% to settle at $1.28/lb. at 1 p.m., Feb. 22, on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price fell 1.7% last week, the biggest loss since Jan. 18.

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