Canfax report

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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 up

The weighted average steer price was $138.43 per hundredweight, up $3.51, and heifers were $138.19, up $4.25.

Over three weeks, direct sale prices are up about $8.75.

Chicago cattle futures rallied early in the week, and there was good buying interest in Canada on the modest cash offering.

Most trade was dressed at $227-$233 delivered. A large volume of heifers was marketed.

The Alberta cash-to-futures basis strengthened $1 to a seasonally strong -$2.72 per cwt.

Weekly western Canadian slaughter to Oct. 29 fell three percent to 34,151.

Exports to Oct. 22 fell 33 percent to 7,554 head.

Yearling supplies and fed show lists are expected to moderate.

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Leverage has shifted slightly to favour the feeder, and the fed basis should continue to strengthen.

Fed supplies are tightening, but beef will face competition as turkey and cheap hams are featured leading up to American Thanksgiving.

In the United States, live prices were generally steady to US$1 higher at $104-$105.

Dressed sales in the north were mostly steady at $162-$164.

Cows weaken

D1, D2 cows ranged $75-$90 to average $85, down 25 cents.

Alberta non-fed prices are at their lowest since February 2014.

Weekly western Canadian cow slaughter to Oct. 29 was 6,808 head, the most since the beginning of March. Slaughter bulls were $102.19, down $1.06.

Over the past month, butcher bulls have fallen much faster than cows. The cow-bull price spread is now the narrowest it’s been this year. Market lows are expected sometime over the next 30 days.

Feeders stronger

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All provinces but Ontario saw calf and feeder prices rise last week.

From annual lows in the third week of October, calf and feeder prices have rallied $5-$10 per cwt.

Fewer calves were forward priced this year, and one would assume that more would be sold in the fall but that has not been the case. Auction volumes are up but still manageable given the time of year.

Contributing to the lighter volumes are farms under quarantine because of bovine tuberculosis, wet pastures and the late harvest.

This year’s calf run may be more spread out than in recent years.

A few 750-800 pound steers were sold for January delivery, and prices were lower than current cash prices.

The best strategy has been to sell into rallies, which have been short-lived on the Chicago cattle market.

U.S. beef rises

Choice cutouts to Nov. 3 were US$188.74 per cwt., up $7.20, and Select was $173.87, up $5.06.

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The stronger prices could hurt demand, especially when turkey is becoming the focus at retail for the coming U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.