2017 has seen strong demand for Canadian beef both on the domestic and export market.

Anne Wasko, a Market Analyst with Cattle Trends, says prices have been good with wholesale prices trading 3 to 4% higher than they were a year ago.

She says heavy carcass weights from last year have dropped by about 30 pounds a carcass giving cattle feeders a better bargaining position.

"That would be a driver going forward," Wasko said. "Cattle feeders have been making money and they are certainly showing that in the marketplace. When the cattle feeders are profitable, I think the cow-calf producers certainly see the impacts of that. It will be something to watch in 2018, but certainly, that's been a key factor and I think producers need to understand where that came from."   

She says demand remained fairly strong despite an increase in supply in 2017 with 3% more beef in Canada and 4% more beef in the U-S.

Wasko also says producers are preparing for an increase in feed prices.

"We know that we're all looking at higher feeder prices, whether it's a cattle feeding," she said. "You're looking at 25 per cent increases in barley prices versus this time last year and he doesn't have that feed wheat supply like we saw coming off the 2016 harvest. Those things aren't there and of course, we know what's going on with hay prices depending on what part of the country or province you're in"        

She expects a strong calf run this fall with animals coming to town pretty aggressively because of the good calf market and of course the lack of feed supply.


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