Sizzling prices, tightening production, and Canadians’ love of beef: Beef Market Update

(Canada Beef Inc.)

What does a wizard have to do with cattle prices?

Nothing really, but it would seem that there are some zany factors at play in cattle production where somehow cattle prices are climbing even as feed costs are dropping. Is it magic?

Not quite, says Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange, but prices are sizzling right now and many factors are pointing to continued good news for the next few months.

In this episode of the Beef Market Update, Wasko sums up the cash trade south and north of the border and updates the cutout price moves, before diving into some really neat stats that prove that even at quite high retail prices, Canadians love their beef.

Listen to the full Beef Market Update now or later, or check out the summary below!

  • U.S. cash prices were all over the map, but all higher, at $3 to $8 higher live than last week and $10 to $12 higher dressed
  • Some sales in Kansas topped out at 191, Texas, bids at 184. And they have been the area that’s kind of been the discount to everybody else. But they are moving up at the same pace.
  • Nebraska has really been leading the pace at 189 to 193 live
  • What does the wholesale price do? Catch up!
  • We saw a big jump in the choice cut out, which is kind of our monitor for wholesale prices. In North America, it was up $22 this week, close to 328
  • Certainly cash is pulling the cut-out with it
  • Bringing it north of the border, prices are $3 to $8 higher. Dressed, that’s at 408 to 410. I’ve never had to write those numbers before in my history
  • What’s driving this? Beef production is down. Production is down 6% in Canada; they’re down 5% in the U.S. supplies are tight
  • Lower production comes from two things: Cattle slaughter both here and in the U.S. and carcass weights here in the U.S
  • May weights really dropped from year ago levels and fell below the five-year average.
  • Feed costs are coming down at the same time. Which wizard whipped this up?
  • As we head into the fall run, obviously, that’s going to be a key critical point is what the the 2023 crops in terms of feed grains
  • Let’s get into the numbers!
  • StatsCan releases a monthly retail price, and we have April’s data
  • April’s beef price in Canada was actually down 6% From March, year-to-date, we’re down 2%
  • That kind of flies in the face of what you think about beef at the grocery store, but the big jump in prices really happened in 2022
  • Here’s the bottom line: in 2022, Canada produced more beef and the U.S. produced record amounts of beef in 2022 as well, plus we had record carcass weights, and that shows up in the consumption data
  • Per capita beef consumption last year was up 3% from 2021 to 38.6 pounds per person
  • Pork was up 7% and chicken was up 3%
  • Demand was up 2.6% in 22 from 2021

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