Beef Market Update: Looking hopeful into August wholesale prices

It’s the last Friday of July, and the summer is just continuing to roar along. If you’re in Western Canada, you know it’s hot hot hot.

Currently in the beef markets, there is a lot of discussion surrounding where we are at for demand for proteins. We’ve got some economic headwinds, and we’ve got issues with the economy trying to open up (like restaurants). Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange says that there’s definitely a hope — and sense — that we are going to see some better buying as we flip the calendar into August.

“The expectations right now are for some better wholesale prices in August,” Wasko explains in our latest Beef Market Update. “And then we’ve had a little flicker of some better news in terms of weekly U.S. export data for U.S. beef into Japan and Korea through the month of July. So there’s a few things that appear to be giving me some reason for hope — absolutely.”

In terms of choice cut-out value, right now things are sitting pretty close to the bottom, at $201.80, which is down around 50 cents from last week. In western Canada, fed cattle sales were pretty steady, sitting around the $225 mark, dressed and delivered.

When it comes to the backlog of cattle, our sense of how we’ve looked at it has changed as we have moved further and further through COVID-19. Wasko says this is definitely true as we jump back to at least close to a year ago slaughter levels.

“What we have of course talked about is the reduction in the placements that happened in the first few months of this year,” Wasko explains.

“In the first five months, the U.S. had over a million head of cattle — fewer placed against August, September, off and beyond — and in Canada, about 100,000 fewer head of cattle placed against these months. So for August alone, in the U.S. when you look at the weight breakdown, there’s probably 100,000 fewer head placed against August. So that backlog that we described will become a part of that supply. I think we’ve started chipping away at it pretty well now as we move into August, and even more moving into September, assuming the kills stay where they are.”

Check out the full conversation between Anne Wasko, and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney, below:

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