Cattle futures on the Chicago market hit record highs yesterday for both feeders and live animals. Reports indicate that U.S. sales of chilled beef to Japan are up as that country works to restock its shelves. Sandy Russell of Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting in her weekly newsletter called The Bottom Line says April live cattle closed at $120.55, while March feeder cattle finished the day at $133.50. Based on early indications, Russell says Canadian fed cattle prices followed suit, with prices on the rail in Western Canada in the range of $195 to $198 per hundredweight. She says tight supplies of cattle on both sides of the border look to sustain these strong prices for the next few weeks as cattle feeders pull more animals forward to capitalize on the record price levels. Global fears had pulled futures prices drastically lower in the middle of March and Russell warns that market volatility is likely to continue. Usually we point to the high value of the Canadian dollar and the high cost of feed grains as reasons why cattle prices are disappointing. In this instance, cattle prices are record high despite those factors.

I’m Kevin Hursh.

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