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Feedlots struggle as Canadian dollar and feed costs continue to climb

By: Kara Oosterhuis

May 1, 2021

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If you’re a cattle feeder who’s been following the value of the Canadian dollar, you’ll know it’s not moving in the right direction for people in the export market.

Combine that with rising feed costs and the price of feeder cattle, the input costs for the feeder are not headed toward higher profitability.

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Lethbridge barley hit a record high this week, notes Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange, on this week’s Beef Market Update.

“Looking at what the previous records were — 2019 and 2013 both just flirted with that $300/tonne price for barley, and we’re above that today [April 30],” Wasko says. “The Canadian dollar has closed up over 81 cents a couple times this week now, and looking at feeder cattle prices, they are actually pretty solid.”

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As well, the demand for grass is staying very strong too, according to Wasko.

“Grass cattle is trading well above where they would’ve been in 2019. Somebody has got moisture — it’s not here in southwestern Saskatchewan — but the demand on this grass market continues to be very strong. And even the backgrounded yearling cattle market prices are pretty close to where they were in 2019,” she explains. “So yeah, the cattle feeder has got a bit of a challenge in terms of how they make this all work.”

Want to hear more? Check out our Beef Market Update podcast with host Shaun Haney and Anne Wasko, every two weeks!

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