Ranchers and feedyard operators in the Plains had some very nice weather the last several days to aid their recuperation from the first two major storms that hit the area. Yet another storm was expected to move in arriving at about the time you read this.

The newest storm wasn't expected to bring precipitation on a level with the others but did promise to deliver frigid temperatures. And much of the area isn't expected to get above freezing for more than a week, with lows well below zero, adding even more stress for the cattle and people who care of them.

The winter market has been tough to materialize. At the time of this writing, packer and feeders were as much as $6 apart on asking and bidding prices. There's been a lot of talk about packers scaling back hours to try to drive beef prices and improve packer margins. All the talk must have helped as the beef complex took a huge jump on Wednesday, and cattle feeders are expected to win this latest standoff.

Meanwhile, cattle death losses in Colorado were at 8,000-10,000 head, with concerns that the final total could reach 15,000.
-- Troy Marshall