Canadian Cull Cow Imports Could Affect Beef Industry's Competitiveness

US - Accepting Canadian cull cow imports may not affect the U.S. cattle markets prices but could affect the industry's competitiveness in the international arena and consumer confidence, according to a Montana agricultural economist.
calendar icon 11 June 2007
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“I don't think the U.S. cull cow price will dive to the Canadian cull cow price because the small markets will follow the big market every time,” said Gary Brester, Montana State University agricultural economist during the Livestock Nutrition Conference in April in Bozeman, Mont. “Big markets set the price, and little markets follow.”

U.S. and Canadian cull cow imports historically have been closely related until May 2003 when the border closed. The United States then peaked out with strong market prices compared to the last 20 years.

In the cull cow market, the slaughter and price numbers are inversely related, meaning when more animals are slaughtered the prices decrease.

The number of U.S. cull cows slaughtered has declined 700,000 head, or 12 percent, since 2003, 200,000 of those animals were Canadian cull cows.

“The slaughter was going to decline 500,000 animals for whatever reason,” said Brester. “Canada was only part of it.”

Source: The Prairie Star
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