Cash prices, boxed beef, and more — a LIVE! cattle Q&A with Anne Wasko


We hear from Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange every other Friday in our Beef Market Update, but today we’re going in depth in this Thursday edition of RealAg LIVE!

Anne joins host Shaun Haney to talk prices, markets, volatility, and so much more. (Summary available below the video)

  • The boxed beef price has been an upside down U chart
    • the degrees of movement we’ve seen have been surprising
    • an even more steeper decline that predicted; but coming off a steep incline as well
    • does it snap past where we think it should stop and then come back to reality?
    • as boxed beef races to $470, why is the cash market not following it up?
  • Is there a bearish tone to the cash market, or are we going to be able to hold and/or stay above?
    • as we start to see the economy reopen, how are we going to work through the uncertainty and where to go from here?
    • we know things aren’t going to go back to normal any time soon; we just have to figure out what’s next
  • We know cattle were backed up and we couldn’t get through as many as we needed to through April and May — but the cattle who didn’t get processed haven’t gone away
    • these are the cattle hanging over the market when we look forward through summer
  • Looking forward to August, we know we have to get through the supply backlog
    • lows are generally made in the summer market
  • Supply is not the question (in either cattle or corn) — in the face of COVID-19 economic issues, will we have enough demand to take care of the supply?
  • The April data for U.S. into China was better than March, and pork exports were also on fire; there have been good numbers to bring hope
  • The ASF situation in China hasn’t gone away; there’s still a big opportunity to export
  • Has there every been two months of price volatility with this type of action before?
    • we have to go back and look at BSE in Canada
    • definitely not the same situation, but we can draw some parallels
    • we lost a lot of producers as they left the industry, and those who are in the industry today definitely don’t want it to happen again
  • Talking about profitability — diversification is easier said than done
  • How are ranchers feeling about the market?
    • restrictions have made it very different to carry out brandings, etc.
    • prices are looking good so far, but what happens between now and October?
    • it seems like grass conditions are pretty good so far, and there are some positives in feed costs looking forward
  • The volatility of the Canadian dollar can’t be forgotten in the profitability equation
    • another piece to watch going forward is the U.S. dollar index
    • you have to have your hedging strategy in place, and you have to look at the big picture
    • we have to be careful that we don’t trap ourselves in confirmation bias
  • Harvest capacity in the last week is just under 60,000
    • now it’s about moving the beef so we can keep filling the coolers

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