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Beef packers digesting backlog of fed cattle in Canada

“Things are much better than earlier this summer”
beef farming cows getty images
(Getty Images)

The cattle market picture has improved since earlier this year when slaughter houses shut down or pared back processing over COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Things are much better than earlier this summer,” Canfax manager Brian Perillat told the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in a virtual presentation.

In April packers were down to slaughtering 20,000 head a week from the usual 70,000 head. There is still a 100,000 head backlog awaiting slaughter.

Packers have increased slaughter rates and feeders deceased numbers on feed.

Fewer calves will come onto the fall market but September and October will be challenging as the fall run of calves hits the market.

Calf prices have held up well, he said. Feeders, who lost $500 to $600 a head earlier this year, are still losing $200 to $300 a head.

Ron Walter can be reached at