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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The shift away from larger availability of yearlings to the new crop of spring 2020 calf-fed cattle is beginning. This is the early stage of this seasonal trend, with more to come as April progresses.
Demand for quality is good, based on elevated quality premiums in the past year. The advantage will potentially be back in the hands of feeders with genetically higher-marbling cattle, rather than cattle that must be highly managed through the feeding regimen to reach the premium grades and CAB.
The Choice/Select spread and CAB/Choice spreads narrowed in last week’s trade as ribeye and strip loin prices fell. Higher than normal first-quarter middle meat prices were responsible for some of the wider quality price spreads since the first of the year.
So far in 2021, Choice carcasses are at a higher premium to Select than in any of the previous five years. This is important, not because Choice carcasses are the production target, but because the producer’s share of the Choice premium is the foundation on which CAB and Prime premiums are added.
Extreme winter conditions and temperatures well below zero have been widespread across the country impacting most of the major central cattle feeding region. History in our CAB data shows us that grade generally improves, rather than declines, during periods of extreme cold.
When cattle prices and producer sentiment are lackluster, sometimes it’s nice to look to a bright spot in the market. At CAB, a recent snapshot of December export data provides some interesting fodder, and something to get excited about.