Beef Market Update — Lower Retail Prices Needed to Barbecue Through Big Beef Production

Retailers are enjoying this part of the beef cycle. Producers? Not so much.

Cattle futures put in some new lows last week, as Anne Wasko of Gateway Livestock joins us for another Beef Market Update.

With slaughter levels in the U.S. up around 10 percent for the last two weeks of April, there’s been a lot of beef entering the market for barbecue season. But prices in the store are still too high to drive the consumption needed to chew through all this beef.

“It feels like it’s been too much at a time when retail prices are still pretty high,” says Anne.

As Chris Hurt of Purdue notes in this Drovers’ article, retail beef prices in the first quarter of 2016 were only four percent lower than in the first quarter last year. Finished cattle prices in the U.S., on the other hand, were 17 percent lower.

Prices in Canada are still well over year-ago levels, notes Anne.

“We’d sure like to see retailers featuring more beef at this time of year than what we’ve seen. We need to see these prices drop.”

Anne and Shaun discuss these big beef production numbers, the retail price lag and the impact from hot, dry weather on cattle markets:

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