Beef Market Update: Western Canadian fed cattle market remains red-hot heading into prime grilling season

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Cattle markets have held their own over the last week, with prime grilling season underway heading into the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. and Father’s Day around the corner.

U.S. cattle prices this week ranged from one to three dollars higher, from south to north, explains Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange in this Beef Market Update, for the week of May 26, 2023.

“The market shook off the downside we saw back earlier this month, and actually had a pretty good close-out heading into the long weekend for the U.S.,” she says.

North of the border, the fed cattle market remains red-hot.

“This Western Canadian fed cattle market just won’t say no, which is wonderful. CanFax is calling it two to five dollars higher this week, anywhere from 3.97 to 4 dollars delivered, dressed in Alberta. So that is, again, another all-time high,” says Wasko. “That’ll put the average, when they come out later today, probably around 238 live in Alberta.”

The basis or spread between Western Canadian and U.S. prices is also helping, as it’s clawed its way nearly back to par.

“The first four months of this year we averaged about 20 under, so the difference there depending on what weight you want to use, is about $300 a head improvement,” says Wasko. “We got super-current finally in these yards, and moved into tighter front-end supplies.”

Wasko discusses the hows and whys of feedyards being current, the strong prices, and the impact of news that Taiwan is removing the last of its border restrictions to Canadian beef — check out the latest Beef Market Update below:

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