Beef export and cull cow market update


Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, updates the numbers as of September 19, 2019.

Beef exports

“Canadian beef exports for the January to July 2019 period are $1.841 billion, up 24% by value from the same period in 2018,” says Wood. “Export quantity is 253,745 metric tonnes, which is an increase of 14.5% year over year.”

He notes that the top 5 export markets by value are:

  • United States up 18%
  • Japan up 59%
  • Hong Kong down 8.8%
  • Mexico up 12.4%
  • China up 207%

He adds that Canadian beef imports for January to August are down 16% by volume at 111,688 tonnes.

Cattle slaughter

“Year to date as to the week ending September 6, Western Canadian slaughter is 1.7 million head, up 5.9% compared to 2018.”

He says that taking a closer look at western Canada slaughter volumes, shows that year over year:

  • steers are up 6.9% at 873,000 head
  • heifers are up 4.8% at 545,000 head
  • cows are up 5.4% at 271,000 head
  • bulls are down 9.3% at 8,000 head

Nationally, Wood adds that Canada slaughter rates are up 5.5% at 2.17 million head with:

  • steers up 5.9% at 1.165 million head
  • heifers up 6.1% at 647,000 head
  • cows up 3.9% at 347,000 head
  • bulls down 9.8% at 10,000 head

Western Canada cull cow market

“Year to date, the Western Canada cull cow market is averaging $88.15 per cwt in 2019,” Wood says. “It is 3% below 2018 and 19% lower than the 5-year average.”

The D1-2 cow price was $86.50 per cwt the week ending September 13, 2019, or $1,211 per head for a 1400 lb cow.

Wood notes that seasonally, the cull cow market moves lower into the fall before modest gains into December.

“If the cull cow market follows the seasonal trend, then estimated prices could be in the mid $70s in November. However, prices may see resistance from increased competing meat supplies and weaker grind prices due to increased culling in U.S.”

“The Western Canada cull cow market continues to trade at a premium to the U.S. cull market. The Western Canada cull cow market was $6.50 per cwt over the U.S. cash cow price last week – about $3.50 per cwt lower than the same week a year ago.”


For more information, contact Jason Wood:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (Open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-2133
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)


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