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Volatile ride ahead for cattle complex

Market Update: Late October may be the best window to sell calves

The Alberta fed cattle market has been trending lower over the past two months as the market functions to encourage demand. In the previous issue, we explained that the beef market is characterized by an inelastic demand curve. Therefore, a small change in supplies can have a large influence on the price. Monthly beef production increased from March through June. […] Read more

Higher beef production weighs on cattle complex

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Consumers will have to eat more beef to compensate

In my previous article, we mentioned that the cattle market was in a transition phase. Market-ready supplies of fed cattle during April were relatively tight while beef demand was moving through a seasonal high. The fed and feeder cattle markets softened during May as beef production grew. North American beef demand is considered inelastic so […] Read more

Beef complex moving toward higher supplies

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Already-tight feeder margins expected to be negative by early fall

During the last week of April, Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $160 to $163 on a live basis. The market has been contending with tighter supplies of market-ready cattle south of the border. At the same time, wholesale beef prices have been percolating higher as retail and restaurant demand moves […] Read more

Always consider the Traders Report

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Take some of the emotion out of market conditions

Fed and feeder cattle prices have been quite volatile over the past month. Lower supplies of market-ready cattle along with seasonally strong demand have contributed to the recent rally in the nearby live cattle futures. This strength has spilled over into the deferred live cattle futures contracts and allowed feedlots to bid up the price […] Read more

Cow Eating Hay At Feedlot

Volatile summer cattle market forecast

Market Update: U.S. feeder cattle supplies remain burdensome

Western Canadian fed and feeder cattle markets are poised for volatile behaviour over the next four to six months. U.S. first- and second-quarter beef production are expected to come in below a year ago. During the third and fourth quarters, there will be a sharp year over year increase in beef production. As of late […] Read more

U.S. cattle herd still growing, but at a slower pace

Market Update: Numbers indicate we're still a couple of years away from contraction

The USDA cattle inventory report in late February showed cattle inventory and calf numbers were above a year ago, but the expansionary phase appears to be slowing. Canadian feeder cattle exports to the U.S. for 2018 had a year-over-year increase of 65 per cent. The larger U.S. calf crop may temper demand for Canadian feeder […] Read more

Feed grain supplies down, then up by fall

Market Update: Late 2019 may be a good time to think about backgrounding

The price of feeder cattle is influenced by two main factors — the expected fed cattle price when the feeder is finished; and the price of feed grains. Let’s have a look at the fundamentals for Canadian barley as well as a brief overview of the corn situation. As of early March, Lethbridge-area feedlots were […] Read more

Canadian prices divorce from U.S. fundamentals

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Alberta feeding margins are in the red by $200 per head for feedlots selling in the spot market

There was unusual price behaviour in western fed and feeder markets during the first weeks of February. Earlier in January, Alberta fed cattle prices reached a high of $166 on live basis for March delivery. By mid-February, Alberta packers were only bidding $150 on a live basis for March 1-15 delivery. At the same time, […] Read more

Understanding feeder cattle price structure

Market Update with Jerry Klassen: Comparing prices for custom feeders and a finishing feedlot

The feeder cattle futures have traded in a narrow range since early November but we’ve seen severe swings in the western Canadian feeder cattle basis. This has made it difficult for the cow-calf operator and backgrounding operator to project a forward price for summer and fall. I’ve also received inquiries in regards to the price […] Read more

Most indicators point to favourable market

Market Update: Numbers for the first quarter show good demand, strong prices

Alberta packers were buying fed cattle at $268 on dressed basis in mid-January, which is up $10 from last month. Fed cattle values on a live basis were quoted at $163 in Alberta and US$124 in the U.S. Southern Plains. The market appears to be percolating higher due to tighter than expected market ready supplies. […] Read more