March’s market action is best summarized by the expression, “and then some…” Stronger prices late in the month marked yet another new all-time record. That makes for the third consecutive month of establishing new historical highs.

January’s mark came late in the month when the fed market surpassed $148/cwt. The market then drifted back to $140 during the next several weeks; but stronger trade came at the last half of February pushing the market over the $150 hump for the first time. March’s action wasn’t quite as dramatic but, once again, strong action at the end of the month tacked on even more and scored the market another new high of $152-$153.

Figure 1 provides some insight into the fed market’s favorable action since last August. The fed market largely traded around $120/cwt. for about eight weeks last summer beginning in the middle of June. Then, coming out of those summer lows, a sustained surge in prices has been in the works since August. That trend has established the upward channel creating higher highs thus far in 2014. From a broader perspective, Figure 2 depicts the market’s run on both the fed and feeder sides since 2009 (the beginning of the longer run breakout to the upside).

New records thus far in 2014 are important benchmarks. Perhaps more important, though, are some of the dynamics behind the market. For example, during the final week of February, the market looked poised to trade in the high-$140 range. Packers were offering bids of $149 early in the week. Cattle feeders resoundingly passed and successfully demanded higher prices which, in turn, they quickly received. More surprising, though, is the fact that packers anted up while wholesale values were stagnating in late-March.