Beef Market Update: Exports a high note in a period of volatility


It’s been a busy week in the beef markets, impacted largely by growing North American beef and pork supplies, spotty feed availability, and the August 9th fire at Tyson’s beef processing plant in Kansas.

Regular RealAgriculture guest Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange spent some of her week in Calgary, at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, where markets played a big role in discussions across sectors.

“We’ve already kind of established that 2020 prices generally will probably be lower than 2019, which will be a little lower than 2018 – so I don’t think any of that big picture stuff changes, but certainly we have lots of volatility,” says Wasko, in this episode of the Beef Market Update. “So short term, certainly lots to talk about, but I didn’t walk away from the meeting thinking anything differently in terms of big picture.”

In terms of ‘short picture,’ Wasko says there is a lot to consider, including the Kansas fire, which massively impacted the beef packing plant representing six per cent of U.S. fed slaughter.

With feedyards current, established trade continued in the states, providing a dressed price, according to Wasko, around “seven to eight dollars lower than where it would have traded last week.”

And the affect moved up the supply chain, which remains hungry for Labour Day weekend barbecues.

“When you have a sudden reduction to the kill like that, guess what wholesale prices did this week – big jump.”

On the export front, Canadian beef exports (in volume) in June, as Wasko lists, were up 17 per cent to Japan, six per cent to the U.S., 47 per cent to Mexico, and 31 per cent to Hong Kong and China.

“So we, again – as I think I probably would have said a month ago with the May data – we continue to be on fire with our exports on all fronts.”

Hear RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney in conversation with Anne Wasko, covering the fire at the Tyson plant in Kansas, packer margins, the ‘unheard of’ August choice/select spread, and Harvey’s move to source a portion of their Original burger as certified sustainable.

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Beef Market Update (view all)Season 11 (2019) Episode 8

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