GFM Network News


Shutdowns and slowdowns at packing plants caused by COVID-19 have created a backlog of 130,000 cattle that must be fed until they can be processed.

Packing plants back on track, but future uncertain

With a huge backlog of animals to work through, cattle groups are fearful of what comes next

Alberta’s beef-packing plants are working at or near full capacity but the crisis is not over yet, say cattle leaders. “Our processing capacity has continued to increase over the past few weeks and cattle prices have been relatively strong, but markets are still vulnerable to a disruption in the processing plants,” Alberta Beef Producers chair […] Read more

Klassen: Yearling prices stay sluggish, calves hold value

Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling prices were steady to $4 lower; calves and grass cattle were relatively unchanged. Early in the week, the mood was quite depressing; yearlings were under pressure with feedlot buyers on the sidelines. By Friday, the market appeared to be well established. Backgrounding operators have been active sellers over […] Read more


Klassen: Feeder market lacks buying interest

Market gives in to pressure from Chicago futures

Compared to last week, western Canadian feeder cattle markets traded $5-$8 lower on average, with yearlings dropping as much as $10-$12 in certain areas. It appears buyers are incorporating a risk discount due to uncertainty in beef demand longer-term. Rising unemployment levels, sluggish consumer confidence and a sharp drop in disposable income are all factors […] Read more




Klassen: Feeder market sends mixed signals

Compared to last week, western Canadian average yearling prices were steady to $3 lower while heavier replacements above 1,000 lbs. actively traded $3 to as much as $6 lower. Weakness in deferred live cattle futures, along with rising feed grain prices, caused buyers to lower their bids accordingly. Steers averaging 1,000 lbs. were readily trading […] Read more


Klassen: Feeder cattle market surges

Western Canadian feeder cattle markets experienced a precipitous bounce over the past week. Compared to seven days earlier, yearling traded $4-$6 higher; calf markets were trading $3 to as much as $10 above week-ago levels; prices for feather-light bawlers surged with 300- to 400-pounders touching the magical $300 level in some areas. Optimal weather enhanced […] Read more

Backgrounding margins can disappear in a hurry

What looks like a healthy profit 
might actually be razor thin

Add up all the costs when backgrounding, says a farm business management specialist. “At this time of year the profitability of backgrounding calves also comes into question,” said Ted Nibourg. “Focusing on just the feed costs can give the impression that backgrounding will be economically feasible this fall. While feed costs are a major part […] Read more


Cattle grazing corn in winter can reduce or even eliminate the need for supplemental feed.

High cost, high risk, but corn a perfect cold-weather grazing crop

When the weather outside is frightful, cattle can get all 
of their energy and protein requirements by grazing corn

One of the “best-kept secrets” of Manitoba cow-calf producers could soon make its way west — as long as producers have access to better genetics. “The low-heat-unit corn varieties certainly have some potential to move into a cow or a calf backgrounding program,” Dr. Bart Lardner from the Western Beef Development Centre said at the […] Read more