Beef Market Update: Processing back online, on-feed numbers, and calling a record year a little early


Fresh off a big trip to New Zealand representing the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Anne Wasko, of Gateway Livestock Exchange, is back for a Beef Market Update.

(Read more about Anne’s experience at the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef here)

Here in the northern hemisphere, it was another good week in the U.S., with the market adding a dollar on the average for the live market and US$1.80 dressed.

The market was expecting the news that Tyson would re-open its Kansas plant next month, but even if it wasn’t a surprise, it certainly added to the confidence in the market. “Packers did a good job getting cattle processed,” Wasko adds, saying the re-opening will help with processing capacity, but we won’t get current overnight. It’ll improve the cattle feeders’ leverage, for sure, she says.

Re-capping the November 1 cattle-on-feed report, Wasko says that placements should be up somewhere in the 10 per cent to 20 per cent range, which is on track for last year. The market is getting ready for that kind of news, she says.

Alberta’s cattle-on-feed number was way up for October, at 25 per cent higher year-over-year, though it’s not surprising given how low September numbers were, Wasko says. Total placements are up about two per cent for the year. October was a big month overall, as marketings and fed cattle exports were up big, too. Pen space has been tight and will continue to be for the next few months for sure, she says.

From a rancher perspective, the market has pulled back a little, but it’s been a reasonably reliable, stable fall run. Heading into December, there’s the potential to see feeder and heavier calf prices move higher. “The dust is going to settle very similarly to what we saw last year, on average,” Wasko says.

Overall, the CPTPP continues to be a shining star for beef exports, as trade from Canada to Japan doubled year-over-year for the month of September. It’s just been a huge market, Wasko says. So far, exports are up 12 per cent in volume, and 21 per cent in value over all — and even though there are a few weeks left in 2019, Wasko says she’s calling it: 2019 will be one for the record books.

Hear the full Beef Market Update, here:

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