Extended cold weather, abundant supplies of competing meats, high gas prices and increased payroll taxes have all played a part in limiting beef demand this spring.

However, several of those factors have now changed.

Choice boxed beef reached record levels above $200 per hundredweight earlier this month, with fed cattle prices not far behind. The late spring rally comes after boxed beef and fed markets appeared to have topped in March.

Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist at Stillwater, said the recent rally in Choice boxed beef can be attributed in part to beef purchases for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

“Though the weather has moderated somewhat recently, winter conditions still occurred later than usual,” he said. “Purchases now seem to be more in the tone of insisting that the weather will warm up for the first big summer holiday, in the absence of concrete improvement in the weather so far.”

Check live cattle futures prices now

Beef demand also is getting a boost in the form of lower gasoline prices and strength in competing meat prices. Broiler breast meat has made a strong increase, leading to the highest prices since 2010. On the pork side, ham prices have recovered dramatically since Easter lows, although pork loin prices remain relatively weak.