Higher Retail Beef Prices Not Reaching Farm Gate

Cattle producers say they are not benefiting from sharp increases in beef prices at the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Canada released an update on Wednesday showing a kilogram of beef strip loin went from $18.60 a kilogram in February to $30.83 in June.

“I hope consumers realize it’s not the producer or feedlot owner who are benefiting from that huge increase in beef prices,” said Arnold Balicki, president of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA). “It is the packers and/or the retailers.”

Balicki adds this is not the first time that has happened.

“We can go back to the BSE years when packers were buying cows for $30 (per hundredweight) and selling burgers for five and six dollars a pound. It was just unbelievable what they were doing to the livestock producers on that one,” he said.

Cattle prices have improved a bit since hitting lows this spring when packing plants in Alberta closed or sharply reduced production while a large number of employees had COVID-19.

“It appears cattle prices are slowly rising and hopefully as we get into the fall calf run, prices will be back to something decent like they were last fall,” he said.


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