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COVID-19 impacts on the Canadian cattle and hog supply chains

Over the next several weeks, FCC Ag Economics will help you understand the rapidly evolving business environment due to COVID-19. With the costs to families continuing to climb and potentially unprecedented associated economic costs, central banks around the world are now working together to find ways to halt the damage.
 
We’re updating our 2020 Red Meat Outlook to reflect changes now shaping the cattle and hog sectors. As of March 24, we expect average cattle and hog prices throughout 2020 to largely stabilize close to average 2019 prices. However, their drop relative to the 5-year average highlights the plight currently plaguing the sector (Table 1).
 
Alberta fed steers are now trending towards an average of $152/cwt for 2020, Ontario fed steers, $146/cwt. That represents a 2% drop in average prices in 2020 for Alberta cattle and 1.4% decline in Ontario cattle since our Outlook last month.
 
The cattle price trends are amplified for hogs. Our price trends indicate Ontario feeder hogs will average $132/cwt this year, a 6.8% drop since our February report, while market hog annual prices are now expected to average $79/cwt, a 5.0% drop.
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