Beef sector starting to rebound at end of May

Back in March, beef production numbers for the week ending March 28th saw a high of 676,000 head slaughtered. The U.S. hit a low point the first week of May at 425,000, last week’s numbers show a rebound at 555,000 head.

When you look at prices one year ago, feeder cattle hit around $146 dollars per hundredweight. In April, that dropped to $120 dollars but USDA Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam says a recent auction saw prices near $130 dollars per hundredweight.

He believes that the sector is showing signs of recovery.

“Plants are continuing to operate again. They are adjusting to CDC guidelines for social distancing; they are adjusting how their workers function in the plants, which is causing line speeds to be slower than prior to COVID-19,” Shagam said. “One would expect as the industry continues to adapt and make progress...we could see continued increases in slaughter going forward.”

While the industry is not back to pre-COVID levels, Shagam says that things are moving in a positive direction.