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Calf market will feel the pinch come fall

Market Update: It will take time to work burdensome beef supplies through the U.S. system

Alberta fed cattle prices have traded in the range of $162 to $166 throughout February and March, but the market is poised to grind lower during the second quarter due to the large year-over-year increase in second-quarter beef production. Fed cattle are poised for a $15 to $20 drop over the next couple of months […] Read more

cattle in a feedlot

Other indicators affecting cattle market decisions

Risk Management Part 4: Who’s using the futures market and what are their intentions?

In my previous article, I discussed four possible market environments and the possible marketing or hedging strategies for each environment. Cow-calf producers will know if the basis is weak or strong based on longer-term historical data. The price range of the futures market over the past two years will provide a good idea if the futures market is in […] Read more

To sell or background calves?

Risk Management Part 3: The futures and basis will guide key decisions

This is the third article on price risk management for feeder cattle. In the first article, I provided a review of using the average basis to project an expected forward price for 550-pound steer calves and 850-pound yearlings. In the second article, I answered some common questions from producers. I showed producers should factor in […] Read more

Tighter feeder cattle availability ahead

Market Update: Drought in southern Plains has moved more cattle to feedlots

In mid-February, Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $273 to $275 on a dressed basis while live prices were quoted from $163 to $165. Fed cattle prices have been relatively flat so far this year. However, feeder cattle prices dropped sharply in January and failed to recover. This is largely due […] Read more

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