Beef Market Update: Feed prices, a strong dollar, and the worldwide demand for protein

Barbecues may be firing up for the summer and worldwide protein demand may be holding steady, but the price of fed cattle isn’t quite so hot.

“Not exactly exciting news – prices are lower – but…I would also point to the fact that we’ve got considerably more beef being produced this year in both countries,” says Gateway Livestock’s Anne Wasko, adding that beef production is up eight and nearly one percent year-to-date, in Canada and U.S., respectively.

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And though prices may be lower, it isn’t all gloom in the beef markets.

Canadian trade a “shining star”

Statistics Canada released its trade numbers last week, and we’re seeing a lot more export out of the country on a percentage basis, compared to this time last year, says Wasko.

“Now we’ve got total beef exports in volume up 19 per cent, and value up 31 per cent, so ringing our bells in terms of value versus volume.”

Exports to the U.S. and Japan were up 10 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively, compared to May of last year.

“The trade side…has continued to be a shining star for Canada, so that’s still a positive,” says Wasko.

An eye on barley, and the Canadian dollar

While the Bank of Canada seems to be steady, potentially even holding interest rates, the United States is talking about dropping them, which could impact fall prices. And so too, will feed costs.

“The biggest determinant in those prices is going to be the cost of gain, and where those barley prices end up,” says Wasko.

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