Looking back on the adverse effects of the government shutdown in other areas, the beef industry handled it just fine. The private reporting services that cater to the industry were pretty accurate and the markets seemed very transparent, both on a wholesale level and retail level. I think it’s nice to know we don’t need the government for everything in our lives, though lately that theory is being sorely tested!
Profitability has returned to the industry with cattle closeouts last week showing up to $350/head profits. The fat cattle market is on an $8/cwt (hundred weight) run in the last 6 weeks and when you couple that with a large reduction in feed expense you are finally riding the right side of the wave. The only negative in the news lately is that trace amounts of Zilmax were found recently in some beef shipments to Asia, specifically South Korea and Taiwan. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon, because those beef exports are extremely critical to the long term health of our domestic cattle market.