Beef Market Update: Branding season cools, as summer gets in to full swing

For many, branding season is quickly coming to a close.

Calves are moving out to grass where possible, and the summer season is underway, says Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange.

On this week’s episode of the Beef Market Update, host Shaun Haney and Wasko discuss a few key topics including western Canadian cattle on feed numbers, the current profitability of the ranching community, risk management, and more.

Listen to the full conversation below, or read on for a brief summary:


  • What requires more of a liver: bonspeiling or branding?
  • This week we saw another down week in the U.S.; for two weeks in a row the market has been lower
  • In the south, Texas and Kansas has been around $180
  • From a seasonal perspective, the market shot considerably higher through May than many expected, setting back the last couple of weeks
  • Smaller slaughter levels this month on both sides of the border
  • One of the things we’re hearing folks talk about that it’s a reflection of tighter cattle supplies and packers trying to manage between keeping some profitability at hand
  • We are still two weeks away from when the seasonal low usually occurs
  • We’re past the big demand season
  • How much does the current economic conditions of consumers play into demand?
  • We just put Father’s Day to bed — up until then, demand was strong
  • The western Canadian fed cattle market ends up being steady
  • Cattle on Feed report shows the effects of the smaller cattle herd
  • On feed on first of June for Alberta and Saskatchewan was down 11 per cent. The decline continues
  • The placement number in May was down five per cent
  • Early moisture helped some of the Prairies as well. Saskatchewan for sure is going to have more grass to cut than they’ve seen in the last few years
  • The big question is what happens on costs — especially feed costs…hay prices, grain prices, all the rest of it in terms off the other piece of profitability
  • The profitability equation from the cattle price side looks really solid right now. The big question is what will happen on feed costs?
  • It’s hard to paint everyone on the same brush profitability wise — it really depends when they priced their cattle

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