Beef Market Update: A look back at 2021 cattle markets

(K-State Research and Extension/ 2.0)

We don’t have to say it twice: it’s been a frustrating year for many involved in the cattle community.

As Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange explains in our latest Beef Market Update, the impacts of the 2021 drought won’t easily be forgotten, and and it’s not something that’s just going to go away. Auction marts were busy in July, and they are still seeing action to this day as producers continue making decisions on their operations.

“Looking at this summer, fall, and winter, we’ll talk about it until we get into into next year and and hopefully different moisture condition. So that’s that’s been the struggle, and it is what it is,” Wasko explains, adding all eyes are on the outlooks for 2022.

“As we look forward and we hear about some of the outlooks and forecasts as we go into 2022. [We expect] a smaller cow-herd in the U.S., and a smaller cow-herd in Canada. We’re going to see a smaller calf crop, and all of those things with good demand. Beef demand should lead us to some better prices. But you know, that’s down the road. That’s next year, and unfortunately 2021 is going to go down on the record books as probably one of the most difficult, frustrating years — in my opinion — for ranches in Western Canada,” she notes.

One of the positives of the year, however, has been a fairly open and mild fall and start to winter, allowing cattle to take a bit of a break from the extreme temperatures they could’ve been seeing for the past few months.

“Whether you’re in the U.S. or in Western Canada, cattle have done extremely well. So we’ve got carcass weights that are pushing on records,” says Wasko. “There are records in the U.S. right now, and us kind of second to last year’s COVID record. So last week, for example, the steer weight was 941 pounds. That’s 10 pounds over the five year average. We are arguably making cattle just plain old heavier and bigger,” Wasko says.

“There’s lots of beef in the system,” she says.

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

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