Beef Market Update: Cut-out values, feeder cattle trade flows, and a U.S. cow-herd projection

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The U.S. cattle market was steady again this week, continuing to chop, chop, chop sideways, with cut out prices climbing slightly, though still at sluggish pace. Here in Canada, the average weekly price is in the low 170s, and, according to Canfax, that’s the first time since 2017 the weekly average has held in this range.

That’s where we kick off this week’s Beef Market Update with Anne Wasko. In this report, Wasko explains how the retail price climb of all proteins, not just beef, is being reflected through consumer buying behaviour. All told, demand has softened for proteins, across the board.

On the positive side, fed cattle slaughter in Canada this year has been outstanding, Wasko says. First quarter slaughter this year was up 4 per cent from 2021, the biggest first-quarter fed cattle kill we’ve ever had. That strong trend has continued in to May.

In other news, the United States Department of Agriculture has updated its beef production numbers for ’22 and in to 2023, increasing the ’22 number in line with 2021, versus the 3 per cent decline they had pegged early this year.

“The drought is certainly leading to more and more cattle showing up in the in the system and obviously bigger beef production,” Wasko says. However, the USDA is pulling back 2023 numbers by 7 per cent. If realized, it would be the biggest drop year-over-year for beef production.

Hear the entire discussion, plus details on the Canadian/U.S. feeder cattle trade numbers, here:

You can hear the Beef Market Update every second Friday on RealAg Radio at 430 E on RuralRadio Channel 147 Sirius XM!

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