Cattle prices slip lower
Cattle prices tumbled to four-month lows last week as large supplies weighed on the market. Prices for cattle plunged under $1.25 per pound Thursday as cattle producers and traders sold off their holdings. Seasonally, Lent is a period of lower red-meat demand, further pressuring prices, which are already down 7.4 percent from their January highs.
Looking forward, a potential pitfall looms for the cattle market if Congress fails to come to agreement before the March 1 deadline regarding automatic government spending cuts. If no deal can be cut in Washington, one impact could be a drastic reduction in USDA meatpacking inspectors. By law, meatpacking plants cannot operate without a USDA inspector present.
Wheat market soggy
Wheat prices were sliced to a seven-month low this week by precipitation in the Great Plains. Although recent rains and snows are not enough to break the drought, hopes for better weather caused a sell-off in wheat, dropping prices under $7.30 per bushel Wednesday. As of midday Friday, prices for March wheat had stabilized at $7.40 per bushel.