February 25, 2004
US Ban On Canada Cattle Seen To Last Till Late 2004
The United States' ban on live Canadian cattle is expected to last until at least the fourth quarter of 2004, according to a U.S. analyst speaking at the Canadian Wheat Board's Grain World 2004 conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
"The earliest, under our forecast, that we would see Canadian cattle starting to flow into the U.S., under restrictions or limitations, would be the fourth quarter of 2004," said James Robb, center director at the U.S.-based Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC).
He added that without significant movement in the next six to eight weeks, "the fourth quarter of 2004 may be optimistic."
With lower U.S. prices in early 2004, the pressure in the U.S. will be to reopen export markets but to keep the border closed to live Canadian cattle, said Robb. Assuming normal conditions, U.S. fed cattle prices will improve in the fourth quarter, creating "a window of opportunity" for Canada's chances of seeing a reopened border, said Robb.
Robb said that Canada needs to develop its slaughter capacity and "quit worrying about the U.S. border," because while it may reopen to cattle under 30 months, it will be "years" before older cattle will be allowed, said Robb.