Beef Market Update: Cattle markets hold steady in the face of lingering drought


Cash cattle prices have remained “amazingly flat” in recent months, says Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange.

“We’ve had basically two months of an Alberta fed cattle market, where we’ve been between $231-$235 per hundred weight. So we’re kind of done for trade up here for the week because of the holiday,” she says in this episode of the Beef Market Update.

While drought conditions persist in parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta, cattle placements into feedlot numbers have been higher than usual over the summer months. This has helped maintain steady cash cattle prices, with the fall cattle run expected to remain strong through October and November. However, as Wasko notes, numbers may flatten out compared to previous peaks.

Feeder cattle prices set new highs for the year in September, with 500 pound Alberta calves averaging over $4.10 per pound. However, slaughter cow prices dipped to $131 per hundredweight as more cull cows move through markets this fall.

Grain prices will be a key factor to watch through this, says Wasko, as grain yields have been better than expected in some areas, which could lower feed costs. However, she warns that “we’re still higher than the U.S. when we talk about a feeding advantage or disadvantage.”

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

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