News Update
March 31, 2006


U.S. imports more Canadian cattle, less beef

Since the U.S. border reopened to Canadian feeder and slaughter cattle last July, live cattle imports have increased as expected. Strong U.S. prices have continued to attract cattle into the U.S., and U.S. beef imports from Canada have been below last year, Drovers magazine reported in this week’s Drovers Alert.

According to preliminary weekly data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. feeder cattle imports from Canada averaged about 10,000 head in February, nearly double the weekly average of 5,700 head per week in 2003, the alert said.

The recent Canadian cattle on feed report corroborates that Canadian feeders have opted to send their feeder cattle to the U.S., the alert noted. The Canadian report showed the total on-feed inventory as of March 1 was 3% below 2005’s report.

Slaughter cattle imports this year during February were nearly double the per week average for the 2000-2004 period, the Drovers Alert reported. At the same time, weekly Canadian cattle harvest has been well below 2005’s numbers, down 11% in January and 3% in February. At mid-March, U.S. weekly imports of Canadian slaughter cattle were slightly more than 17,000 head.


Traceability affects U.S. trade opportunities

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns told members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) that the difficulty of tracing the origin and history of U.S. livestock underscores the need for a national animal identification (ID) system, reported.

“It is critical that the United States, like other nations, have this in their trade arsenal,” he said. “Australia is aggressively marketing traceability to gain an advantage. Competitors are out there saying, ‘We’ve got ID. They don’t.’”

Johanns said USDA still plans to have full participation in a national identification system by 2009, but emphasized that he shares NCBA’s desire to achieve participation voluntarily rather than by government mandate, the article stated. Current NCBA policy calls for voluntary, market-driven participation in an industry-led animal database that protects confidential information.


— compiled by Meghan Soderstrom, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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