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 market higher
Sharply stronger live cattle futures last week sparked buyers and a few live cattle in Canada traded $2 to $3 per hundredweight higher than the previous week.
The Chicago futures prices reflected stronger than expected cash prices in the U.S.
The Canfax fed steer average rose by $3.02 to reach $163.50 per cwt. on light to moderate trade. Fed heifers were unchanged at an average $160.75.
There were premiums for large volume trades, but only one major packer was buying cash cattle.
The weekly cash to futures fed basis weakened to -$7, but remained seasonally strong enough to discourage American packer interest.
Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending Aug. 30 was down three percent from the previous week at 36,970 head.
So far this year, the region’s slaughters is up nine percent at 1.18 million head.
Weekly fed cattle exports to Aug. 23 were 38 percent smaller than the previous week at 5,060 head.
Demand is expected to soften as fall approaches and retailers need to align beef prices higher in response to record high live cattle.
Consumer spending will be disciplined following back to school expenses and beef buyers could shift to cheaper competing meats.
Cow prices rise
D1, D2 cows rose $1.33 reaching $123.63 per cwt.. D3 cows averaged $111.90 and slaughter bulls traded slightly higher at $139.41. Rail grade animals traded at $234-$239.
The week’s non fed exports were the largest since the end of March.
Supplies are expected to remain manageable. Prices are expected to fall in September but should be able to average in the low $120s per cwt.
Feeder steers on average rose $6.13 per cwt. and heifers were up $6.06. There was strong U.S. and eastern Canadian competition for feeders but light to moderate volumes of Saskatchewan and Manitoba yearlings are still going into Alberta.
A large portion of Canadian feeder exports are heading to Nebraska, so cattle from Saskatchewan and Manitoba have a freight advantage over those in Alberta.
Saskatchewan yearlings 700 to 900 pounds are trading at a $1 per cwt. premium over Alberta. That premium is likely to continue as more calves hit the cash market.
In the futures market, the January and March feeder contracts were at nearly a $10 discount compared to the spot contract month. Over the past two weeks Alberta 850-870 lb. steers for February delivery have been reported $212.25-$213.50 per cwt. and cash-to-futures basis levels remain seasonally weak at -$18 to -$20 on those lots.
Alberta auction volumes totaled 22,882 head, lower than the previous week and the same time last year.
Bred cow-calf pairs traded at $2,000-$2,550.
U.S. beef stronger
The U.S. Choice cutout value was $248.12, up by $1.23 from the previous week’s $246.89. The Select cutout was down slightly, to $234.69 from $235.27. Stabilized prices were attributed to strength from the futures and cash market spreading to the wholesale sector.
Canadian cutout prices were not available.