Beef Market Update: Strong indicators signal a hopeful 2023

(Paige Holmquist/RealAgriculture)

It’s been a mild January so far in Saskatchewan, where star of the Beef Market Update, Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange, is reporting from today.

Wasko joins guest host Lyndsey Smith this week to discuss cattle prices in the U.S., Western Canada, cattle-on-feed numbers, Canadian kill prices, and more.

Check out the full conversation and summary, below:

SUMMARY:

  • South of the border, U.S. fat cattle were a buck lower
  • Texas and Kansas were at $155
  • Northern trade was $1-$2 lower as well
  • These lows aren’t all that unexpected for this time of the year, and the same holds true for the wholesale price
  • Choice cut out closed at $271 on January 19th, down six bucks from a week ago
  • U.S. packers are back to schedule again after holiday disruptions, weather disruptions, etc
  • Seasonal tendency here in January and February to see that market ease off
  • In terms of fed cattle prices in Western Canada, we’re continuing to grind higher
  • Fed cattle this week coming dress $315-$317
  • We’re going to be netting over $1.90 live when you get the settlements back
  • You can’t call it explosive, but it is grinding higher
  • For much of 2022 we were so far behind and were marketing so much cattle on feed that we just couldn’t gain leverage
  • Carcass weight is moderating, somewhat. They are still 11 pounds over the five-year average
  • Canada saw the biggest weekly January kill that we’ve seen since 2019, at over 12,000 head last week
  • Slaughter cow prices in Western Canada are going to average over $1 this week, which is also the highest January prices we’ve seen since 2016
  • Demand is strong for lean-trim
  • We’ve got a lot of big picture things to change before we’re going to start seeing anything different in terms of the cow herd
  • Likely a lot of the cows that are showing at at the harvest facilities now were marketed back in ’22
  • Feeder markets are also strong, especially here in Western Canada
  • January 1 cattle on feed numbers in the U.S. were down 3-4 per cent versus last year
  • December placements are projected 9 per cent lower than a year ago. That kind of lower placement trend is really expected to continue as we move through 2023
  • The number of cattle on feed in western Canadian feedlots was down 3 per cent to start off 2023. Still 4 per cent larger than the five year average
  • We saw both November and December a really busy month for replacements
  • For the entire year of 2022 placements were down 4 per cent (compared to 2021)

Find all previous Beef Market Update episodes, here.