The issue now is getting virus-free workers to come into the packing plants

Cattle and hog futures have been on a downward trend following spikes in COVID infection rates.

According to the USDA’s estimated daily livestock slaughter numbers, hogs have taken a cut anywhere from 3,000 to 8,000 head, and cattle are expected to be trimmed by 3,000 to 6,000 head.

Allendale’s Rich Nelson said that the problem lies within slower processing because there is a lack of incentive for virus-free workers to clock in.

According to Nelson, “Some people might even argue that because they are paid to stay home anyway, if they do, then perhaps that’s another incentive. So, the issue right now is actually getting employees to the plants who are virus-free and able to operate a full day there.”

He says that the focus is more indicative of the hog side because packers will be cramming in the nation’s largest processing of the year in the next five weeks.