Producers should secure feed supplies for this summer and continue to manage margin risks very closely.
Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension economist, says cattle prices have had a remarkable run to the upside with finished steers reaching the low $120s/cwt. But, there are signs those lofty prices will not be maintained into the spring and summer months. End-of-summer lows could be in the $110 to $112 range. If drought forces cow liquidation, summer prices could be even lower.
Hurt predicts that retail beef prices probably have substantial increases still to come this spring and summer, moving toward $5/lb. at times as retailers pass along the much higher prices of wholesale beef from this spring. According to Hurt, the combination of higher gasoline and beef costs have the potential to force adjustments in consumer behavior.
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