Beef Market Update: Fed cattle market looks more promising than expected

August is starting out with an optimistic undertone in the cattle markets with fed cattle prices faring better than analysts may have predicted.

In the southern U.S., prices are rounding out around $1 higher at $136 towards weeks end, whereas the north is holding a premium at $142 to $146 and their dressed market is coming in at $225 to $232.

Anne Wasko, market analyst with Gateway Livestock Exchange, says another piece that has held together well as of late is choice cutout despite it sliding to $266.

“This is a second highest price for that choice cutout other than last year, in terms of this time of year, so these are solid prices, and that choice select spread is still 26 bucks. That’s a big spread for August. So there’s there’s lots of these pieces on the wholesale side telling us that our demand for beef is obviously still doing very well at these prices. And that’s helping to hold the cattle market better together better than we thought,” shares Wasko.

On the local market, prices are coming in $1-$3 higher with the dressed prices in Alberta at $295-$297, making it the highest price for fed cattle Alberta has seen in August since 2015.

Looking at the U.S. Cattle on Feed report, Wasko says the July 1 report showed not a lot of change on feed numbers.

“We’re starting to see the pattern of smaller placements and aggressive marketing both leading too. Up until now we’ve been talking about a very inflated increase year over year number — and that’s certainly coming down,” says Wasko.

Looking ahead, she says the focus will be on the potential drought conditions in some areas including Texas, and whether it affects placement patterns and auction market sales volume.

Listen to the full interview between RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney, and Anne Wasko below:

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