This cattle market information is selected from the weekly report from Canfax, a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.
More market information, analysis and statistics are available by becoming a Canfax subscriber by calling 403-275-5110 or at www.canfax.ca.
Fed prices rise
Local buyer competition improved a little, beating out American bids and keeping most cattle in Canada.
In moderate trade, the weighted average steer price was $119.34, up $2.15 per hundredweight and heifers surged $2.51 to $118.53.
Western Canadian dressed sales were $199-$201 delivered.
Saskatchewan fed trade was too light to establish a price trend but generally was comparable with Alberta.
Sales volume fell 32 percent to 11,539 head. That was 23 percent smaller than the same week last year.
The Alberta cash-to-futures basis weakened $1.25 to -$12.46, $1 stronger than the five year average for this time of year.
Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending Sept. 21 rose 15 percent to 38,360 head.
So far this year, slaughter is 10 percent smaller than year ago at about 1.19 million head.
Weekly exports to Sept. 14 fell 18 percent to 5,650.
Cattle marketings normally rise in October, potentially pressuring prices lower. Feedlot supplies, however, remain current and some October inventory has been pulled forward, potentially lessening the price weakness.
The Chicago futures market is forecasting high live prices in the winter.
Western Canadian non-fed slaughter and exports to the U.S. are well above year-ago volumes, helping to keep market-ready supplies current.
D1, D2 cows were $72-$83 to average $78 per cwt., up 92 cents and D3s averaged $69.30 up 30 cents.
D1, D2 cows are expected to average around $75 by mid-October. That is $6.25-$8.75 higher than the same time last year.
Butcher bulls were $86.93, down 26 cents.
With increased marketing, butcher bull prices are trading at the lowest level since the beginning of July.
U.S. boner cows set highs during the first week of September, but since then prices have eased 4.5 percent.
Lower U.S. prices and seasonally increasing non-fed volumes will likely pressure prices.
On average, steers 500 pounds and heavier traded $8.90 higher than last year at the same time and heifers were $6.05 higher.
Even though prices are holding above last year, the steer-heifer price spread is widening.
Harvest pressure is weakening barley bids. With feed grain cost falling, heifers would normally be more competitive with their steer counterparts. This has not been the case as overall feed efficiency is weighing on heifer demand.
Steer and heifer calves for October delivery from the same farm operation saw heifers priced at a $25-$30 per cwt. discount to their similar weight brothers in electronic sales.
With the nearby October futures contract trading at nearly a $5 premium over the expiring September contract, cash-to-futures basis are expected to weaken.
With the exception of Ontario, weekly auction volumes are above year-ago levels.
Weekly feeder exports to Sept. 14 rose 88 percent to 8,933.
Uncertainty remains over the impact of U.S. country-of-origin labelling. Feeder basis levels will likely be weaker than historical levels for the rest of the year.
Yearling volumes will likely slow in the coming weeks but North American buying interest should firm prices.
U.S. beef rises
U.S. Choice cutouts to Sept. 27 were $193.34, up 33 cents from the previous week. Select cutout was $177.05, up 15 cents.
Canadian cutouts to Sept. 20 fell with AAA at $193.36, down $3.54 and AA at $183.68, down $2.38.
Trim values in Canada are holding better than in the U.S.
The AAA-Choice spread is now -$4.63 per cwt. while the AA-Select spread is +$2.76. Montreal wholesale price was steady at $224-$225 per cwt.