We’re starting this Beef Market Update off on a positive note: retail demand.

Retail sales are looking really strong as we head into the last week (?!) of January — and about a month out of the holiday season, notes Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange.

As she explains, there is usually a bit of a breather in January and February, but the choice cutout is sure showing us a different story this year.

“Consumers both in the U.S. and Canada continue to demand beef at the retail counter, and it’s bringing them into the stores, or at least ordering online. One of the two,” she says.

On the producer side of the equation, the cash market in the U.S. had what Wasko is calling a ‘choppy sideways week,’ as trade is sitting around the $110-$111/cwt mark in the south, and $172-$173/cwt in the north.

“Compared to the cutout — which over the last two weeks has gained about $15/cwt —we’ve really chopped sideways as far as cash cattle are concerned. So again, that piece of the margin is pretty profitable at this point in time,” Wasko notes. “In Western Canada, our fed cattle trade has seen some improvements since Christmas, and that continued again this week. So $252/cwt delivered was where a lot of the dressed trade was. So if you’re doing your equivalent live average we’re up over $150/cwt.”

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

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