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 lower
The Canfax fed steer weighted average was $160.09 per hundredweight, down $1.76, and heifers were $159.15, down $4.88.
Strengthening basis levels encouraged producers to move a portion of their list, even though prices were down for the week.
Railgrade cattle that could be delivered within two weeks saw bids or sales range $267-$270 delivered.
Bids for the week of June 13 delivery were $260-$264 delivered.
Market-ready supplies are anticipated to increase. Many producers have indicated contract volumes will be larger in June than in May.
More cattle will likely be on the cash market than last year, even with larger contract volumes.
Weekly Canadian fed cattle exports to the U.S. totalled 5,997 head, the fourth smallest volume this year.
The May 20 U.S. cattle on feed report showed larger than expected placements in April and weighed down the Chicago fed cattle market early last week.
However, futures recouped losses because the trade hoped that less expensive beef cuts this year will encourage increased demand over the U.S. Memorial Day weekend.
U.S. cash prices varied widely last week. Mid-week dressed sales were down $7-$12 from the previous week, but bids firmed to US$200-$202 dressed by the end of the week.
The non-fed market bounced back from the annual lows of the previous week.
D1, D2 cows ranged C$92-$108 to average $100.10, up 50 cents.
D3 cows ranged $82-$95 to average $89.20.
Rail grade cows were $191-$196.
Bulls were $127.40, up almost $2.
Cow auction volumes increased as more calving culls went to town, but recent rain and improving pasture may ease the immediate need to move cows.
Western Canadian cow kills have moderated to near 4,000 head a week as packers focus on the A grade kill.
Non-fed exports are flat this year, ranging from 4,200 to 5,400 head per week since mid-February.
Cow supply and demand remains moderate, but more retailers featuring ground beef would support cow prices into summer.
Feeder prices stabilize
Alberta steers rose 50 cents on average and heifers were steady.
Feeders lighter than 600 pounds on average fell on limited supplies and quality.
Grass type 600-700 lb. feeders rose $2.50, supported by improved pastures following recent rain.
Feeders 700-800 pounds were mixed with steers surging $4.25 while heifers fell $1.75.
Steers heavier than 800 pounds generally weakened.
However, heavy heifers firmed modestly compared to replacement type heifers at market.
Weekly sale volumes of 12,861 head were respectable for the short four day post-Victoria Day week.
Weekly feeder exports to May 14 fell seasonally to 5,745 head.
Supplies will tighten, and most backgrounders have either cut their losses and dumped feeders or now have them on full feed to finish.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cattle on feed report showed a significant increase in feeders that will be marketed in the third quarter.
That lowered late summer live cattle futures. Feeders heavier than 800 pounds could see increased price resistance.
U.S. boxed beef prices to May 26 fell with Choice at US$222.72 per hundredweight, down $4.44, and Select at $203.26, down $7.89.
The Choice-Select spread widened to $19 per hundredweight, the widest spread since June 10, 2013.
Weekly Canadian cut-out values to May 21 were steady to lower.
AAA was C$275.77, up $1.13, while AA was $262.13, down $4.65 per hundredweight.