Latest articles


Feeder cattle basis analysis

Finishing at least some of your own calves is a diversification measure

In my previous article, I provided a brief overview of last year’s series of articles on price risk management for feeder cattle. In this column I will continue the discussion and also answer some of the main questions producers had last year. Cow-calf producers are becoming more familiar with the basis level for their local […] Read more


More on feeder cattle risk management

Market Update: Looking a little deeper into messages from the market

In the winter of 2017 I wrote a series of articles about price risk management for feeder cattle. I discussed hedging feeder cattle on the CME feeder cattle futures and also conducted a risk analysis on the basis for feeder cattle prices in Manitoba. Read more: Understanding feeder cattle risk: Pt. 1 Read more: Understanding feeder cattle […] Read more



cattle in a feedlot

Market message: Time to cut beef production

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: The market will bounce back temporarily, but producers should consider liquidating cows

Western Canadian cattle prices have been quite volatile over the past month. Alberta fed cattle prices climbed higher for seven weeks in a row from late November through the first week of January. Alberta packer bids rose from $147 to highs of $167 during this time. The finished market appeared to divorce from the live […] Read more


U.S. tax cuts will increase beef demand

Market Influences: Consumers will have more disposable income, leading to more spending

I’ve received many inquiries over the past couple of months regarding the potential effects of U.S. corporate and personal tax cuts on beef demand. I know most producers focus on cattle inventory numbers and cattle-on-feed reports, but old-time cattle producers often remind me that focusing on demand is the secret to long-term success in the […] Read more



Today’s cash cattle market is deceiving

Market Update: It will be a different market in late 2018 compared to late 2017

It’s that time of year when most feedlot and backgrounding operations are running near full capacity and the focus turns to marketing. The live and feeder cattle futures had been quite volatile over the past month when this was written in late December, which can make cattle producers quite nervous. While the futures market has […] Read more


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