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Cattle producers facing increasing feed costs due to war in Ukraine

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, cattle producers here in Canada are dealing with increasing feed costs.

Brenna Grant is a manager with Canfax.

"The feed grain market has experienced several challenges over the last couple of months," she said. "The big thing is remembering that we had drought last summer and therefore western Canada is relying on imported feed and really that imported feed is being priced at global market prices and so when we think about the volatility and the questions around what's happening in the Black Sea region and the potential for feed grains not being able to make it out of the region into the global market place, it's a question of where those importers that currently rely on those grains, whether they be wheat, barley, corn, where are they actually going to get their supplies from? It's potentially not going to be a direct impact on Canada but it's the indirect impact of greater competition for the existing supplies in the marketplace. We're seeing U.S. corn at around that $7.50 per bushel and these are not unheard of price levels, we've been there before, back in that 2008 to 2012 time period, but it definitely is creating stress on our feeding sector in terms of feedlot margins as well as our cow calf sector who's also short of feed."

Grant says heading into this year they'll be keeping an eye on the weather with lots of producers needing timely rains in order to get germination and also to improve pasture conditions and get the spring started early.

She notes feeder exports have been up significantly from the reduced level that we had seen over the last three to four years. Grant says in the U.S., they have a price advantage in terms of feed grains right now, but they also have a smaller herd that they've been contracting since 2019.

"We're definitely seeing more feeders go south, basically on our fed steers, heifers. Exports are basically steady with year ago."

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