Beef Market Update: Cattle markets steady, but with a sustained wide basis on decent supplies

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There’s always something to cover in the beef and cattle markets, but this week marks a decidedly non-volatile week in trading.

Anne Wasko, with the Gateway Livestock Exchange, brings an update from the south to the north and from beef prices to live weights in this episode of the Beef Market Update. The theme of the week is steady, she says, with a slight uptick to the higher side in the U.S.

“Now as we move through the rest of October and into November, we see a very strong seasonal push higher on those wholesale prices as we get closer to U.S. Thanksgiving and their year-end holiday season. So that seems to be falling into place,” she says.

On the cash side, even though it’s a steady market the basis here at home is still really wide at 16 to 17 bucks under the U.S., when the three-year average is closer to 10.

Below, Wasko digs in to some export data, challenges for western Canadian ranchers, and feeding capacity in the U.S.

SUMMARY

  • Flat cash prices in U.S. beef markets, with slight gains in the south and steady prices in Canada
  • Packers in U.S. and Canada struggling with breakeven margins due to high cow kill and slow harvest rates
  • Beef carcass weights and supply chain in Canada
  • Wasko explains that current carcass weights are 14 pounds over the 5-year average, despite pandemic-related disruptions to the supply chain.
  • Feeder cattle imports, placements, and beef exports/imports in Western Canada
  • Wasko provides insights on feeder cattle imports for August, with a focus on the net trade flow and the lack of calf crop in Western Canada
  • Haney and Wasko discuss beef exports and imports for August and September, highlighting the reliance on feeder cattle imports from the U.S. due to increased feeding capacity in Western Canada
  • Beef exports down 3 per cent in August, with Japan and Mexico markets experiencing significant declines
  • Wasko and Haney discuss the impact of exchange rates on beef trade and the need for moisture in North America

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Beef Market Update (view all)Season 15 (2023) Episode 6
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