Cattle charged to a four-month high on Friday, pushing over $1.38 per pound. Prices have been rising as demand from meatpackers picks up as they prepare for spring cookouts. Retailers are hoping that relatively cheap prices for steaks and burgers will lead to increased consumer demand in the coming months.
Additionally, the cattle being sold to slaughterhouses are relatively skinny, as the cold winter has kept them from gaining weight, which is limiting beef supply and pushing prices higher.
Starting Monday, livestock trading hours at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange will be changing, with cattle and hogs now trading from 8:30 AM to 1:05 PM CST, a cutback in hours that should focus trading to the high-activity hours only.