US live cattle futures plunged last week to levels not seen since the 2008-09 financial crisis as impacts from the coronavirus pandemic are being realized.
Livestock traders continue to exhibit concern that uncertainty for meat demand is a full year story as restaurants remain closed, and meatpacking facilities have shuttered operations leaving farmers with overcapacity among herds.
Over the next 6-8 months, some form of social distancing will remain in place that will likely result in operation limitations for restaurants, plus consumers will live in fear of going out to their favorite eatery as there is still no adequate virus testing for the entire population and no proven vaccine. Also, concerns of a second virus wave materializing in the fall will keep people confined to their homes.
The closure of meatpacking plants has weighed on spot cattle prices as the rash of COVID-19 outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the country has quickly transformed into a crisis.
Around 150 of these facilities operate within counties where virus cases and deaths are exceptionally high.