Beef Market Update: Cattle placements rise year over year

It’s been another steady week for cash cattle trade in both the U.S. and Canada.

Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange says that in the U.S., trade has been at $118-$119, and around $187-$191 dressed, while the storyline from previous weeks for cutout values continues.

“Choice closed last night at $330 USD, which is up $6 from a week ago. This continues to make amazing progress, but again, high wholesale prices, high retail prices… all of us are wondering, once we get past this demand barbecue season, do things slow off? Beef is pretty pricey at these levels,” Wasko explains.

On the Canadian side of things, Alberta stayed fairly steady with dressed prices at $273-$275, and Ontario gaining ground at the $255-260 mark.

However, as Wasko notes, strong markets mean a strong basis level for Western Canada — sitting at that +19 mark.

When you compare Alberta to what is happening in other parts of Canada, as well as the U.S., many are asking as we get through this log of cattle, if this is a leading indicator or not.

“I do think the strong basis this year has pointed towards the whole supply and demand piece, but I do think the currentness piece is a part of that for sure. Last week in Canada our steer carcass weights were 896, so that’s down 22 pounds from a year ago. That’s the first time we’ve dropped under a 900 pound steer weight in this country since last July. But it’s still pointing to some heavy weights compared to say, the five year average,” she says, adding that trends in weights is typically a leading indicator, alongside the cattle on feed report.

From the cattle on feed reports, Wasko says the bottom line is that placements continue to be larger, with Western Canada placing 23 per cent more cattle than 2020, and the U.S. has placed 13 per cent more cattle.

Check out the full conversation between Wasko and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney, below:

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