By Joanna Newman
CATTLE prices have managed to add to their recent gains, thanks to the knock-on effect of the pig rally and the availability of cheaper cattle feed.
This was due to the weakness in the grains market.
In the cash cattle market, packers are bidding 61¢/lb (81p/kg) against offers of 64¢/lb, compared with a market level of 62¢ last week and 58¢ at the start of the year.
Demand for prompt delivery of cattle for slaughter is strong. Wintry weather conditions are causing delivery problems and putting a squeeze on prices.
The Chicago February live cattle futures contract settled on Wednesday (20 January) at 63.15¢/lb, up from 62.15¢ last week.
Analysts are optimistic about the outlook for the market and expect the upcoming monthly Cattle on Feed report to show that the industry continues to work through its backlog of oversupply.
The data are expected to reveal a faster slaughter rate and a slowdown in the number of feeder cattle entering the feedlots for fattening.