Beef Market Update: A slow climb back to positivity

We’ve made it through another rough week, and as Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange says in this Beef Market Update, “thank goodness.”

We know it’s been a tough go the past few weeks. Every day seems to be worse and worse, but as more packing plants begin to re-open, the worst seems to be behind us.

“I think as we go through May, and we start to see some of the restaurants starting to re-open, and this new environment, I think we can hopefully say the worst of the foodservice demands is behind us,” explains Wasko, but notes that it is going to be a slow climb as plants are still backed up. “Looking at that data from May 2nd for us here in Canada, western Canadian kill for all cattle for fed and non-fed cattle was under 10,000 head. The same week a year ago, we were 45,000 in western Canada.”

Wasko adds that for eastern Canada, they are at 14,000 kills for the week of May 2nd, which is the same it was ago year-to-date, so there definitely is some positivity to look at. Looking south at the U.S., that number ranges (depending on who is doing the counting) anywhere from 500,000 to 800,000 head backed up.

The federal government has announced a set-aside program in Canada, through AgriRecovery. It will impact the markets — but at this point, we don’t necessarily know to what extent.

“I think the question is still going to come down to how much cattle do we get processed and moved through the system so we aren’t still backing cattle up for four to six months as we go forward. It’s going to be hard to say what the market impact is,” she explains.

“Look at what happened in the market in the U.S. this week in terms of cash trade. Early in the week, we have seen some cash trade in the north at 95 USD, then we saw some mid-week trade at 110 USD, and again, not much trade obviously, and then today some cash trade in Kansas at 115 USD. So certainly some packers are going about cash business different in parts of the U.S., and getting some very different mixed messages in terms of what the cash really is and how big is that trade.”

Check out the full Beef Market Update with Anne Wasko and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney, below:

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