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Cattle prices hold steady on feed crop expectations

Rising volumes of U.S. pigs could weigh on beef values

Anne Wasko of Gateway Livestock Marketing says the Western Canadian feeder cattle market is strong.

Prices for finished cattle in Manitoba held relatively steady during the week ended June 28. Weakness in the Canadian dollar, expectations of lower feed prices in the fall, and improved moisture conditions in key regions were cited as some of the key reasons.

“The feeder cattle market has been stronger here in Western Canada,” said Anne Wasko of Gateway Livestock Marketing. “It’s been quiet trade as far as numbers are concerned, but what’s been trading has been trading strong.”

Just four of the province’s eight main auction marts were open for business during the week. A little over 750 animals made their way to market compared to around 1,000 the week before.

Bids for feeder steers in the 400- to 500-lb. range held firm in the $210-$230/cwt range. Heifers in the 600- to 700-lb. class also stayed relatively steady at $170-$190 cwt.

Butcher cows and bulls generally traded steady.

According to Wasko, there are expectations feed costs will get lower when supplies from the new corn crop come online.

There are also ideas futures could come under pressure in the coming days as bids from packers mostly softened during the week.

“Packers have been profitable,” Wasko said.

Growing volumes of hogs and pigs in the U.S. could also weigh on the beef market. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, increases in the breeding herd will result in a higher number of lightweight pigs headed to processing facilities later this year.

“There is concern about that, especially as we get into the third and fourth quarters of the year,” she said.

On the more bullish side, the amount of beef in cold storage in the U.S. dropped. According to USDA, as of May 31, 465.4 million lbs. of beef were in storage, down 1.2 per cent from the end of April.

Beef production in the U.S. came in at 528.1 million lbs. for the week ended June 23, up 1.7 per cent from the week before.

About the author


Dave Sims

Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Dave has a deep background in the radio industry and is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife and two beautiful children. His hobbies include reading, podcasting and following the Atlanta Braves.



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