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Strong demand pushing up basis

Strong packer demand in Western Canada has pushed Alberta cash prices for slaughter steers higher than the Nebraska cash price.

“Our beef cow herd numbers have been flat compared to the expansion of the U.S. beef cow herd,” said provincial livestock market analyst Jason Wood. “This has been a big driver to keep more cattle here and driver of strong basis levels. Current slaughter steer cash-to-cash basis levels are at some of the strongest levels in 25 years.”

For the week ending Feb. 2, the Alberta/Nebraska slaughter steer cash-to-cash basis was very strong at 8.65 over compared to 1.71 over a year ago and the five-year average of 10.21 under.

Slaughter steer basis levels typically strengthen in late spring/early summer, he added.

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