There are some very positive aspects to the beef industry these days, but there are negatives as well. The good news is profitable prices. Feed grain prices in Western Canada are low as compared to American corn and that has helped feeder cattle values on this side of the border. However, the high value of the Canadian dollar has not been helpful. American feeder cattle prices are at record highs. Our record high was set back in 2001 when the value of the Canadian dollar was only 64 cents. Cull cow prices are amazingly good, with D1 and D2 cows approaching an average of 80 cents a pound. The downside is that we continue to loose processing capacity. XL Foods has announced that the operations of XL Beef and XL Meats in Calgary will be suspended due to the low supply of cows and “challenging competitive conditions in the Canadian marketplace.” Reports indicate that about 500 employees will be affected. XL says the processing plants may reopen in the fall when mature cow numbers are historically more plentiful. They used to say that about Moose Jaw too. The big beef facility at Brooks that XL bought from Tyson continues to operate, but labour contract talks are reportedly stalled so there could be trouble there as well.
I’m Kevin Hursh.