Beef Market Update: Canadian fed cattle prices move up, in step with U.S. markets

While choice cut out has come back down from its post-fire rally, the U.S. cattle markets are trending upwards after bottoming out roughly three weeks ago, says Gateway Livestock Exchange’s Anne Wasko.

“Markets are making a move back up as far as cash cattle are concerned, so that’s good news following everything that happened back in August in terms of the fire in that plant in Kansas,” Wasko says in this episode of the Beef Market Update.

Wasko says gains are especially solid in the futures market. And when it comes to cash for cattle and beef price, the gap is closing.

“I would suggest the two are coming together,” says Wasko. “There was such a big move – inflated move – on the cut out that it has come down, certainly, but we are working back that direction, but we’re still missing capacity.”

In Canada, packers continue to see big kill numbers, and the feeder market is seeing some gains.

“When the U.S. market traded lower, so did our cash cattle, also put pressure on feeder cattle markets. Now we’ve seen those returning. This week in Alberta we’re gonna see fed cattle prices average about $2-$3 higher than last week…”

The year-to-date gap on feeder cattle has also narrowed since September 1, says Wasko, with the spread around $5 or $6 on calves.

“Up until this last week, we were running kind of around $10 lower on calves, and $6-$7 lower on yearlings, but when our averages come out this week, they’re gonna be up again, and if you look at year-ago prices they dropped this week last year.”

And while less-than-ideal weather has negatively impacted auction market numbers, internet and video calf trading sales have remained strong.

“It continues to be a good way to manage that price risk,” says Wasko, adding it also offers a level of convenience, and has evolved to higher availability, and simpler technology.

While not everyone will be cooking a beef brisket for Thanksgiving dinner, Wasko says beef demand typically holds solid into autumn, with an increase post-U.S. Thanksgiving and into the Christmas season.

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