Latest articles

Strong demand enhances cattle prices

Market Update: Consumer spending in the U.S. is a major price driver

Fed and feeder cattle prices have been ratcheting higher over the past month due to stronger-than-expected demand. Consumer confidence reached record highs in October and U.S. third-quarter GDP also came in above expectations. This economic data confirms that consumer spending is stronger than anticipated, enhancing overall beef demand. Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in […] Read more

Lower supply outlook strengthens cattle prices

Market Update: The market is not getting more bearish but rather looking neutral to bullish

Alberta fed cattle were trading in the range of $137 to $138 in mid-October, up approximately $4 from average September values. Beef production during October appears to be coming in lower than anticipated. At the same time, retail and restaurant demand appears to be coming in higher than expected due robust consumer spending. Looking forward, […] Read more

Market saying ‘sell calves now’

Market Update: With current supplies prices will get worse before they get better

Alberta fed cattle prices were hovering in the range of $132 to $134 in late September as the market absorbs a large year-over-year increase in beef production. Wholesale values have been grinding lower throughout the fall while restaurant and retail demand move through a seasonal soft period. Carcass weights have been increasing and it appears […] Read more

Sell calves early or hold them until spring

Market Update: Big U.S. calf crop will hit the market in November and December

Alberta fed cattle prices were hovering in the range of $143 to $145 in mid-August. The market has been trending lower since the first week of May when the fed market reached up to $197. Despite the softer selling prices, feeding margins remain in positive territory. Break-even pen closeout values are near $135 for August; […] Read more

Producers urged to sell earlier this fall

Market Update: Market expected to go lower heading into the fourth quarter of 2017

Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $159 to $163 in late June, down from highs during the first week of May of $197. The market has come under pressure as market supplies build on both sides of the border and carcass weights increase. U.S. cattle-on-feed numbers reached a historical high on […] Read more

Cattle market endures volatility

Market Update: Beef oversupply will be an issue unless consumer spending picks up

Alberta fed cattle prices reached up to the range of $195 to $197 during the first week of May due to tight market-ready supplies and adverse weather in the U.S. southern Plains. The futures market has been trading at a sharp discount to the cash trade throughout winter and spring, causing feedlots to be aggressive […] Read more

Consumer spending favours beef market

Market Update: Food prices have been down, so shoppers have more money for beef

The fed and feeder cattle markets continue to hold value despite the year-over-year increase in beef production. Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $175 to $177 in late April. Wholesale beef prices have been surprisingly strong as beef demand continues to exceed expectations. Major economic indicators are fairly encouraging which should […] Read more

What is the cattle futures market saying?

The combination of cash and futures market numbers will point the way

I’ve received numerous calls over the past month from cow-calf producers and backgrounding operators in regards to a marketing strategy for their individual operation. In four previous articles I’ve discussed the feeder cattle futures market and the historical relationship between the cash and futures market. I analyzed basis levels and discussed using the basis and futures for […] Read more

If you see a profit, take it

Markets have improved, but it likely won’t last

Fed and feeder cattle have been percolating higher over the past month as the market moves through a period of seasonal low beef production. Restaurant traffic sharply improves in March and April, and retail beef movement also increases. Consumers generally start eating more once spring rolls around and this year, the health of the overall […] Read more

Understanding feeder cattle options

The Markets: Using a “put” option to avoid margin calls

In the previous three columns on feeder cattle marketing (found in the ‘On our network’ column on the right-hand side of this page), I’ve discussed hedging feeder cattle production using the feeder cattle futures market. Many producers hesitate to use a futures market because of the cash flow requirements. When you sell a futures contract, there […] Read more