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Cattle Producers Have Higher Cattle Prices to be Thankful for

This Thanksgiving week, cattle producers have red hot cattle markets to be thankful for. Earlier here in 2021, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel expected things would turn around at any moment; the challenge was knowing when exactly.

“Our expectation for the last half of the year has been that once we got this fed cattle market turning the corner - and it took longer to get there than I expected,” Peel said. “Once it did, I am not really surprised by where we are.”

Peel said the first indicator that leverage was shifting back to producers was in the feeder cattle markets.

“We had some better prices in the feeder cattle markets on their own,” Peel said. “They were being held back a little bit by this fed cattle market; that was the bottleneck in the whole system. (Now that) that fed cattle market broke loose, we are seeing good prices on the feeder cattle across the board.”

As 2021 wraps up, Peel said the cattle markets are finishing counter-seasonally strong. This week, the fat cattle market prices started around $135, reaching up to $137 in the Southern Plains. Reports of packer bids on Wednesday of $138 and even $139 show that packers are scrambling to find enough market ready cattle to meet their scheduled slaughter schedules.

“We knew this could happen,” Peel said. “It is kind of amazing how dramatic it has been, but we knew the potential was there.”

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