Current. Relevant. Quality-driven.
For nearly 10 years, Paul Dykstra has written a bi-weekly market column for the brand, these past six years as the CAB Insider. He shares current market updates, trends and observations with a closer look at the cattle market from the beef-product side than you can find anywhere else. Yes, there’s an emphasis on the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, and you will find the latest research exploring carcass quality. We want you to be the first to know all of this important industry information, to help bring even more value to your herd.
The man on the inside
A native of Colorado, he grew up on a commercial cow calf ranch in western Colorado and later earned a degree in animal science from Colorado State University. Paul worked as a feedyard manager for the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., before joining the brand’s supply development team in 2002.
As the Assistant Director of Supply Management and Analysis for the brand, Paul combines his experience and knowledge to work closely with ranchers and feedyard managers to raise Angus cattle using the best management practices to enhance profitability by producing quality beef.
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Supply factors took center stage for cattlemen in the past year as COVID-19 ravaged the marketplace. The backlog of finished cattle, carcass weights and price discovery have been such burning issues for months now it’s been hard to free up mental space for anything else.
We can’t count all the reasons why 2020 needs to find a hasty exit, but at least we can hope that a new year will bring on new dynamics for the cattle industry. We know we’re facing a first quarter in 2021 that will test our resolve.
Just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday we’re resting on what has been a solid holiday run-up in beef carcass cutout values. Spot cattle and boxed beef prices diverge, while CAB makes its way into China.
From a feedyard’s perspective, the fourth-quarter quality spreads are an important seasonal factor. Many feeders with high-quality Angus genetics in their inventory procure cattle with the expectation that carcass quality premiums will be near their annual highs during this period.
Producers merchandizing their spring calf crop the second week of October were likely relatively pleased with the outcome, while those marketing in the subsequent week were handed a difficult dose of reality. Volatility is alive and well. The fact that premiums exist and opportunities to charge more for higher quality are the drivers of the system.
Supplies of market-ready cattle are simply not as burdensome as they were just weeks ago. As a matter of fact, feedyard showlists from north to south across the major feeding states are smaller this week than a year ago.