Beef Market Update: Fluid cattle movement, a yawning basis, and steady exports

(Paige Holmquist/RealAgriculture)

Looking south, overseas, and here at home, the beef market looks steady, good, and, well, not bad.

For this week’s Beef Market Update, Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange, starts with a recap of what’s happening in the U.S., where fed cattle held steady again this week.

The wholesale market has peaked, likely, after prices continue to plateau after a heck of a six-week run. Seasonally, it’s not a surprise, Wasko says.

At the local level in Western Canada and specifically Alberta, heavy cattle  keep getting heavier, as processors work through the supply, and that’s weighing on prices.

There’s been steady trade, but dressed trade has drifted much lower, with a yawning basis to the U.S. market pulling cattle south.

Moving to export figures, the September totals are in, and after a lagging July and August, volumes picked back up for the month. Trade to the U.S. was up 4 per cent, to Japan was up 13 per cent, and shipments to Mexico were up 52 per cent. Year-to-date, exports to the U.S. is steady for volume and up about 7% in total value over the 2021 record year, Wasko says.

Live cattle trade south was down across all categories, including fed cattle, steers and heifers, feeders, and slaughter cows. Feeder cattle imports in September saw a big jump at 40,000 head coming north, making it a net import month, but that hasn’t been for the whole year as cattle flows have been fluid all year, she says.

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


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