Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 7, 2005
by WLJ

Safeway posts Q4 turnaround
Safeway moved from a $695.9 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2003 to a gain of $202.7 million in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1, mostly as a result of the strike that crippled its California business in 2003 and significant write-offs involving its Randall's and Dominick's divisions. For the year, sales were flat at $35.8 billion, but profits jumped to $560.2 million, compared with a net loss of $169.8 million in 2003. Sales for the quarter increased three percent, from $11 billion to $11.4 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.5 percent, excluding results from strike-affected stores.

Alberta invests in prion research
The Canadian province of Alberta will spend $38 million to fund advanced research into the ultimate cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The research will look into how otherwise healthy prions become misfolded, leading to the disease in cattle, and will also study the genetics, diagnosis and treatment of prion-related diseases, including variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and scrapie in sheep. Alan Hall, managing director of the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, said that among the possible results of the research are a more accurate and affordable test for BSE that can be conducted on live cattle, treatments that may produce a BSE-resistant animal and insights that may eventually lead to a cure for vCJD or Alzheimer's disease.

Carl's Jr. intros new burger
Carl's Jr. is adding some heat to its Six Dollar Burger line with the launch of the Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger. The new burger features a 100-percent Angus beef half-pound patty, two slices of American cheese, lettuce, tomato and barbecue sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun. The sandwich also includes a generous layer of Texas Toothpicks, spicy batter-fried slivers of onions and jalapenos. Participating Carl's Jr. restaurants will offer the Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger for a suggested retail price of $4.59.

Uruguay exports jump
Uruguay exported 25,300 metric tons of fresh and frozen beef during January, a 37 percent increase compared to January 2004. The increase in Uruguayan beef exports for January 2005 was primarily driven by the record January cattle slaughter, which surpassed 200,000 head. Uruguayan frozen beef exports totaled 21,400 metric tons during January, a 52 percent increase on the previous year. The U.S. was the main market for the increased exports, receiving 17,700 metric tons, up 119 percent compared to last year. Uruguayan chilled beef exports during January declined by 506 metric tons to 3,850 ton. The decline was primarily due to the loss of the Chilean market, which in January 2004 accepted 911 tons.

Whole Foods intros super store
Whole Foods Market opened its newest store and world headquarters last Feb. 24 in Austin, TX. The store—the company's largest at 80,000 square feet—is being touted as a shopping experience, complete with cooking demonstrations, food sampling, enhanced take-out operations and sit-down dining complete with wine list. Innovations will include natural and organic meats aged in-house and an on-site smoker for preparing ready-to-go items and special orders. Customers will have 70 cuts of fresh meat, 32 varieties of fresh-made sausage and more than 50 chef-prepared, oven-ready dishes from which to choose. The new facility houses the company's new headquarters.

New UK BSE case born in 2001
BSE has been diagnosed in a Holstein Friesian cross cow born on Oct. 3, 2001. The case was identified under the compulsory TSE surveillance program, which includes a requirement to test all animals aged over 24 months which are slaughtered. Its farm of origin was in Pembrokeshire, where it remained until it was submitted for slaughter on January 17. The disease was officially confirmed on March 1. This is the most recently born case of BSE confirmed in the UK. The previous most recent cases were born in April 2000 in Great Britain and May 2000 in Northern Ireland.

Winter family adds Riverton, WY
Winter Livestock, with livestock auction locations in Dodge City, KS; LaJunta, CO; and Enid OK, recently purchased the livestock auction in Riverton, WY. Winter livestock was founded in 1936 by Karl Winter in Dodge City. The firm has been in continuous operation for 69 years. Annual sales average 400-500,000 head of cattle. In recent years Winter Livestock has expanded marketing opportunities for customers by adding video and Internet sales. Sale day at Riverton is every Tuesday. Winter plans to add video and Internet auctions to the new location. A live Internet feed at has already been installed.