Fed cattle lower
The Canfax weekly weighted average for fed steers was $170.57 per hundredweight, down $3.87 while heifers were down $3.42 to $169.81. Prices fell as the Chicago cattle futures market, the U.S. cash market and U.S. beef prices also all fell.
American packers were buying for a short week because of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday.
U.S. cash prices for slaughter cattle were US$132 to $133 per cwt. down from $133 to $134 the week before.
The trade will closely watch for how much beef was sold over the holiday, as the data will set the tone for June.
In Western Canada, railgrade sales for the first half of June delivery were at C$287 delivered compared to second half of June prices at $285.
More calves are coming to the market as they usually do this time of year. Carcass weights are much lower than last year, so more cattle are grading AA and fewer AAA and Prime.
The AAA and Prime share of all grades was 54.79 percent, the lowest since June last year.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to May 19 was 38,980 head, up nine percent from last year. But because carcasses are smaller, beef production is up only three percent..
Alberta fed cash-to-futures basis was +$4.80. The basis usually weakens into June.
Weekly fed exports to May 13 totalled 8,934 head, the second largest weekly volume this year.
Larger market-ready numbers are on the horizon. Packers are becoming more comfortable with supply so there is more downside price risk than upside potential.
D1, D2 cows ranged $100-$118 to average $110.60, up $1.20. D3 cows ranged $90-$105 to average $99.25.
Railgrade cows ranged $205-$210, steady.
Slaughter bulls averaged $128.25, down $1.02.
Weekly western Canadian non-fed slaughter to May 20 rose 18 percent to 6,046 head. For the year, slaughter is up eight percent.
Weekly exports to May 13 dipped to 3,651 head. For the year they are down 27 percent at 71,817 head.
Strong trim and hamburger demand will support non-fed prices as supplies seasonally tighten.
The feeder steer average was down 58 cents per cwt. and heifers fell $2.26.
Alberta auction volume fell.
Only a few stocker calves traded and prices were mixed on varied quality and lot size.
Feeder steers heavier than 600 pounds were steady to $2.25 lower and similar weight heifers were mostly steady to $3.25 lower.
In Manitoba, 900 lb. heifers for September delivery were in the mid $170s and increased forward pricing is anticipated.
Large feeders are routinely being sold at a profit, rather than being fed to finish because risk is increasing for the fall fed market.
Auction volumes have topped last year’s pace for the past five weeks. The total is up 20 percent.
Weekly exports to May 13 edged higher to 2,991 head. For the year, exports are down 38 percent at 68,984 head.
More fed calves will be marketed in June and feedlots will be looking for bunk replacements.
Recent rain in the western Prairies will help pastures and encourage buying for placement on grass.
Cow-calf pairs ranged $1,825 to $3,050.
U.S. boxed beef to May 25 fell, with Choice down US$1.10 at $246.11 per cwt. and Select down $2.68 at $218.98.
Cut-out prices typically fall after the Memorial Day long weekend. The recent run up in beef prices has narrowed profits at the retail level meaning there will likely be fewer beef features in June.
Weekly Canadian boxed beef to May 20 saw AAA rise C$15.93 to $312.94 while AA was down $2.28 to $284.70. AAA ribs posted a strong increase as grilling demand picked up.
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.