Latest articles


Nilssons buys Brooks feedlot

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

You’ve probably been following the bribery scandal that engulfed Brazil’s Batista family, the majority owners of JBS SA, the world’s largest protein company. You also likely know the Batista family put its Five Rivers Cattle Feeding unit and other assets up for sale to pay for the 10.3 billion reais (US$3.2 billion) fine it must […] Read more


Devil’s in the detail of China-U.S. beef deal

The announcement on May 4 that China will start accepting U.S. beef on or before July 16 had U.S. industry leaders applauding the Trump administration and excited about supplying this giant market. Their enthusiasm was understandable — U.S. beef has been shut out of China since late 2003, when the U.S. reported its first BSE […] Read more



cattle eating at a feedlot

Taking notice of the drivers in cattle markets

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay

When markets behave unexpectedly, it’s valuable to look back and see what the key drivers were to create such conditions. That’s just as true for cattle and beef markets as it is for financial markets. In the case of the first two in the U.S, aggressive feedlot marketings and better than expected beef demand at […] Read more


Salute the brave new owners

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay: From the April 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Entering the beef processing business is full of risk. Just ask those who have tried and failed over the past 25 years. So it’s worth saluting the owners of two new beef processing companies that have started operations at almost opposite ends of North America. I’m referring to Harmony Beef, which began operations February 27 […] Read more



closeup of a cattle in a field

Trump delivers trade blows

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay: From the March 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

President Trump quickly shattered any final hopes U.S. cattle producers had that he would relent on his pledges to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership or leave NAFTA alone. Now they and other ag groups will have to persuade the administration to open up export markets in other ways as quickly as possible. Many […] Read more


Black Aberdeen Angus cow at pasture in England

Genetic improvement lays the foundation

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay: from the February 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Ask any winemaker how he or she produces a great drinking experience and all reply “It starts in the vineyard.” The same is true of the beef industry. A great beef eating experience starts on the ranch or farm. And just like constantly improving the quality of the grape, it should include upgrading the genetic […] Read more



cattle in a feedlot

A year of green grass and more

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay: from the January 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Another year has begun and expectations on both sides of the border are for a decent year. Cow-calf producers hope for a mild winter but enough snow to produce a lot of green grass this spring and a good calving season. Cattle feeders hope to see more feeder cattle and a more stable live cattle […] Read more


donald trump and beef cuts

Trump threatens NAFTA and more

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay, from the December 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The integration of North America’s cattle/beef sector is one of the outstanding success stories of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which took effect at the start of 1994. The sectors in all three countries have thrived under NAFTA, with all classes of cattle entering the U.S. and beef flowing in all directions. Trade […] Read more



Cattle feeders’ woes continue

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay, from the November 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Cattle feeding is always a risky business. But no one foresaw the collapse in U.S. live cattle prices for the second fall in a row. One can only hope that by the time you read this, prices have put in a bottom and are on the rebound, however modest. The same applies for Canadian prices. […] Read more


Cow and a Calf

Declining cow-calf margins slow expansion

Prime Cuts with Steve Kay from the November 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

The cow-calf sector is the nursery of the North American beef industry. What happens on the ranch determines whether the industry will expand or contract. This then determines what happens all the way to the retail meat case or the restaurant menu. Cattle numbers in recent years have shown different patterns north and south of […] Read more