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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With increased boxed product supplies comes a strong demand from the buying side to secure previously scarce supplies. These days, price is more favorable for end users. Fed cattle supplies are overwhelming and packer margins still leave room for boxes to be marked cheaper on larger production volume.
Federally inspected headcounts have seen rapid recovery since the lows experienced in April. For the past two weeks, the FI harvested headcount has been 86% and 89% of the same two weeks a year ago. Fed cattle prices have remained steady, averaging $116/cwt., with carcass weights steadily creeping higher.
From a beef demand perspective, nothing is normal as we are just a week removed now from all-time cutout highs. However, end-users are still buying what beef they can and consumers are generally clearing meat case inventories.
The challenges presented now are very important to cattlemen and brand partners up and down the chain. However, the health of people at the packing level and throughout the country is the priority that must receive full focus and priority.
The many challenges the beef market is facing today are serious short term problems but are not indicative of long term trends. Price and demand signals will also realign as the pandemic subsides. The interrupted flow of cattle and boxed beef has implications now impacting the pricing structure on a carcass value basis.
One does not need to look far to see the gyrations that COVID-19 has brought to the beef supply chain. Many end meat whole muscle cuts and trim also find their way to the in-store grinder to fulfill America’s propensity toward ground beef consumption.