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.
Packer bids high
Aggressive packer bids brought enough cash cattle to market to establish prices at levels comparable to highs seen during the first half of May.
Fed steers averaged $150.95 per hundredweight last week, and heifers were $148.24. Prices were not established in the previous week because volumes were inadequate.
Most of the dressed trade was around $255 per cwt. delivered.
The average live price was more than $27 higher than the same week last year. Dressed prices were up $52.
Western Canadian cattle are being shipped to central Canada to top up their weekly slaughter.
The cash-to-futures basis strengthened dramatically to +$2.59.
Chicago cattle futures rose, allowing formula prices to rise.
Only 7,795 head were marketed, down four percent from the same week last year.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter for the short week ending May 24 was 30,095 head, down 21 percent from the previous week.
Weekly fed cattle exports to May 17 fell 34 percent to 5,931 head.
Retail beef demand should increase to meet grilling demand for Father’s Day, July 1 and July 4.
Some analysts believe beef prices have hit the seasonal high and with more U.S. market ready cattle expected soon, prices could fall in coming weeks.
Cows mostly steady
D1, D2 cows ranged $99-$115 to average $108.30, steady with the previous week.
D3 cows ranged $87-$105 to average $97.20, up 90 cents.
Western Canadian weekly cow slaughter totalled 4,576 head, marking the sixth week below 5,000.
Trim prices were under pressure but demand for cows remains firm as packers scramble to fill hook space.
Butcher bulls rose $1.50 to $119, a new high.
D1, D2 cows are trading at a $10.70 discount compared to bull values, the widest spread since the beginning of December.
Feeders remain strong
There appears to be more pre-assembled backgrounded cattle going to market versus home-raised, one-owner groups.
Steers and heifers 500 pounds and heavier traded steady to higher.
Over the past five weeks, prices for steers heavier than 700 lb. have increase three-to-five percent while heifers have risen five-to-nine percent.
However, Alberta 750 lb. steers are trading about $11 lower than U.S. prices. But the cash-to-cash basis has narrowed since the beginning of the year.
Heiferettes are fetching prices in the high $120s to mid $130s depending on quality.
Feeder bulls 600-900 lb. are seeing discounts of $10-$40 per cwt. compared to steers, depending on quality.
Feed barley prices have fallen.
Calf and light stockers might see prices level off because they are likely too light to be put on pasture.
Beef nearing top
U.S. Choice cutout rose $1.86 to $233.65 per cwt. and Select climbed $2.61 to $223.77 US.
Some analysts believe the highs for season might have been posted during the week.
Weekly Canadian cutouts to May 24 were mixed with AAA up $2.54 to $238.75 and AA down $2.16 to $229.49.
Cattle continue to be pulled forward, with steer carcasses now 30 lb. lighter than a year ago.