What’s Behind the Cattle Market Meltdown?

Over the past couple of weeks, action in the cattle market has started to feel like a full-blown wreck. Last week, the 5-area weighted average fed steer price (live basis) dropped by over $4 per hundredweight (cwt) from the prior week – working out to just under $135/cwt. These are the lowest fed cattle prices we’ve seen since the end of 2013. Figure 1 plots the 5-Area fed steer price, illustrating just how ugly the year-over-year comparisons have gotten in the last few weeks.

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