Beef Market Update: Fed cattle price declines, as feeder and calf prices hold strong

In this week’s Beef Market Update, Gateway Livestock Exchange’s Anne Wasko joins host Lyndsey Smith to talk about fed cattle markets, Canadian beef production demand, protein markets, and price insurance.

“Usually by May, we can safely say in about eight or nine years out of ten, you’ve likely placed the highs for our fed cattle markets for the spring anyway. This certainly looks to be the case again. In the U.S. this week fed cattle is $3 to $4 lower — in the south, they are $122 to $123 U.S. Those prices, if you compare to last year, are slightly below where they were,” says Wasko.

In Western Canada, Wasko notes that the fed cattle prices are also a couple of dollars lower compared to 2018. In other classes of cattle, feeder cattle and calf prices are trading between $9-10/100 weight, which is higher than they were a year ago.

“In terms of tighter supplies, especially in the world of pork — many are wondering what that does to pork prices and what the implications are to beef prices. So there’s lots of speculation around that whole supply scenario. It is impacting, and certainly been supporting prices for the back half of 2019,” she says.

As far as wholesale beef demand goes in Canada, Wasko says the market continues to be very strong.

“So far this year, Canadian beef production is up 10 per cent. That’s how much beef we are producing here in Canada. The wholesale price is up 12 per cent,” she says. “That is a strong, strong signal when you are producing more of something, and packers are getting more of it. It’s all about where that leverage is, and who is driving it. But largely, that is due to that strong export component.”

Wasko also notes that if you are a producer in Western Canada, the calf deadline for the price insurance program is the end of May.

Listen below to this edition of the Beef Market Update:

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