Cattle imports through September totaled 1.6 million head, compared with the 1.4 million head imported through September last year. Import levels from both Canada and Mexico though the third quarter are above year-earlier levels by 7 and 30 percent, respectively. With the Canadian feeder market still trading at a premium to U.S. values, slaughter cattle have primarily been imported from Canada. The price differential between U.S. and Canadian slaughter cattle (5-Area, all grades vs. Alberta, mostly select, 1-2) has shown steady decline beginning in early September and since November has remained below the differential level of the past 3 years. Thus, coupled with the continued weakening of the U.S. dollar and with Canadian marketings set to dec
line in the fourth quarter, Canadian slaughter cattle imports to the United States through the end of the year should inevitably remain at lower levels.
Feeder imports from Mexico typically spike in the fall as forage in Mexico rapidly deteriorates. Recent strong weekly feeder cattle imports from Mexico indicate that import levels though the remainder of the year should follow the seasonal trend. Weekly AMS reports show imports of Mexican cattle near or above the 40,000 hd/week mark toward the end of October, with a historically high number of cattle (over 50,000 head) imported from Mexico during the first week in November. Additionally, U.S. feeder cattle prices remain well above the exchange rate-adjusted Mexican feeder price equivalent, as they have for much of this year. Currently in U.S. cattle markets, there is also a high value of gain priced into feeder markets for forage-based stocker production, also in light of higher corn prices. Current price relationships between different weights and classes of cattle are sending signals to stocker producers to increase production, and Mexican feeder imports are supplying some of this demand. Total cattle impor
ts for 2010 are forecast at 2.2 million head, 10 percent above the 2009 level.
Back to News Headlines