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 cattle record high
Buyer interest increased on the modest cash offering, and fed prices surged higher.
The fed steer weighted average rose to $153.41 per hundredweight, up $2.40, and fed heifers were $152.55, up $2.69. A good mix of live and dressed trade was reported. Alberta rail steers were $253.75 to $258.75.
Tight market-ready fed supplies in Eastern Canada enhanced Alberta market competition, but U.S. buyer interest was weak. The cash-to-futures basis weakened to -$8.30, but remains seasonally strong.
The week’s sale volumes rose 23 percent to 10,821 head, but that was down 39 percent from the same week last year.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to June 7 was steady at 37,119 head. Fed exports to May 31 rose 40 percent to 6,628 head.
Exports are down four percent from last year. Cattle futures are now extremely over-bought, and profit taking could set in.
Cow slaughter is slowly picking up, but numbers remain below a year ago. Many commercial auctions reported more than half of their inventory was slaughter cows and bulls during the week.
D1, D2 cows traded $103-$115 per cwt. to average $108.50, while D3s ranged $92-$103 to average $97.63.
Rail grade cows were $206-$211.
Canadian 85 percent fresh trim prices have risen, lending support to the non-fed market.
Higher prices are possible over the next couple of weeks.
Only once in the past 10 years, in 2012, have first half highs been set in June.
Feeders have upside
Alberta 400-500 pound feeders were up $4-$6 per cwt. Gains were a little less in other weight classes.
The Chicago August feeder contract rose eight percent during the last month.
Canadian cash price increases lag that pace.
Monthly prices for 850 lb. steers have risen from June to July in eight out of the past nine years. The average price increase was 8.4 percent.
Prices would climb to $204 in July if the trend continues this year.
Such an increase might be considered aggressive, but there is upside to the market, considering that barley and corn prices are under pressure and basis levels usually improve from June to July.
The U.S. Choice cutout fell 10 cents to $230.89 US per cwt., and Select rose $1.71 to $223.89.
Weekly U.S. slaughter topped 600,000 head but is five to six percent lower than year-ago levels.
Weekly Canadian AAA cutout values to June 6 rose $1 to $236.53 Cdn, and AA fell 57 cents to $231.03.
The Montreal wholesale price was steady at $262-$264 per cwt.