Beef Market Update — Wholesale Prices Holding Firm, Negative Feeder Margins Finally Narrowing

A big spike in the United States’ live cattle cash market left producers hopeful late last week.

“In the south — down in Texas, Kansas — we had the market up three dollars, to $1.28 US,” explains Gateway Livestock’s Anne Wasko, in this week’s Beef Market Update (included below). “And the northern markets — Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa — actually got five or six dollar increase.”

In western Canada, margins for feeders are still negative. But, despite the recent two cent increase in the Canadian dollar (and $4/cwt impact to current fat steer prices in our country), those margins are finally getting closer to some positive numbers.

Just what all the market pressures mean for heifer retention still has analysts scratching their heads. Will recent rains in western Canada, and the status of pastures in the US (66% good-or-excellent) be enough to entice some cow/calf producers to increase their herd size this year? Or is such a move not yet perceived as profitable?

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