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.
New record cattle prices
Canfax produced a condensed cattle report last week, noting only a few cattle traded through the holiday season. Slaughter and grading information was yet to be finalized.
U.S. packer demand was limited by closures for Christmas and New Years, but they did not have enough cattle to meet their needs and had to pay up to get supply.
U.S. fed cattle prices set record highs, with most trading around $137-$138 US per hundredweight, up $7-$8 from Canfax’s last report.
The Canadian market was also record high but not to the same magnitude as the U.S.
Fed cattle prices in Alberta were generally around $130-$131 Cdn for the holiday weeks, Canfax said.
Dressed trade was reported up to $220 per cwt. delivered.
The Canfax weighted average steer price was $130.56, $2.68 higher than the Dec. 20 report.
U.S. Choice cutout was $200.55 US per cwt., up from $196.93, and Select was $196.05, up from $190.46.
U.S. packers were suffering large negative margins, analysts said.
The Choice cutout would have to rise to $215 to break even on a live price of $135.
Some analysts expected packers to reduce operating this week to limit beef production and try to push beef prices higher to improve margins.
Cold weather in the United States was slowing weight gain, adding to the shortage of market-ready cattle.