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 down
The Canfax weighted average steer price was $142.47 per hundredweight, down $1.55, and heifers were $141.22, down $1.96.
The price in Alberta was the lowest of the year and was $5 lower than a year ago.
Dressed cattle were $236-$240 per cwt. delivered.
Weaker Chicago futures following the bearish U.S. cattle-on-feed report and the rising Canadian dollar weighed on the market.
Both major Alberta packers were active buyers.
Western Canadian steer carcass weights rose 12 pounds from the previous week and heifers were up 14 lb.
However, steers are still 37 lb. lighter than last year at this time.
Basis was the strongest in several weeks, encouraging feedlots to sell cattle. The Alberta cash to Nebraska cash basis was -$4.33, compared to -$5.58 the previous week.
Prices are down about 26 percent from the spring high.
In the United States, fed cattle prices were generally US$2-$3 lower on a live basis than last week with most trade in the south at $117 per cwt.
Dressed trade in the north was mostly $186-$188 on a dressed basis.
American feedlots must aggressively sell because market-ready cattle numbers will start increasing this month and will likely increase rapidly in November.
Cows drift lower
D1, D2 cows ranged C$95-$110 to average $102, down 29 cents.
D3 cows ranged $82-$96 to average $89.50.
Rail grade cows were $190-$195.
Slaughter bulls averaged $120.06, down 27 cents.
Prices have been down for five weeks.
Non-fed prices normally strengthen into August, but that might not happen this year because the good supply of fed cattle will keep slaughter plants supplied.
Also, the stronger loonie could limit exports.
Dry pastures in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta could bring cattle to market earlier than normal.
Prices could average in the mid to high $90s by mid-August.
Feeders drift lower
Alberta feeders are now about par with the U.S. market after having a $27 per cwt. premium a few weeks ago.
Steers 550 pounds have fallen 18 percent from their highs in early June.
Numbers at market have been light, but there are a few grass yearlings on the cash market in dry areas. This would be about a month earlier than last year, and they are about 50 to 100 lb. lighter.
Look for yearling prices to gain on the calf market, and it would not be out of the question if the spread narrowed to $20-$25 for this year.
Cattle priced for early August delivery appear at a premium compared to yearlings priced for late August-early September.
Alberta and Saskatchewan steers weighing 960-1,000 lb. for September delivery traded from $174-$179. Using a .1 slide, 850 lb. basis levels are around +$10, which is historically strong.
Cow-calf pairs traded $1,700-$2,800.
U.S. beef mixed
The U.S. Choice cutout fell US$1.22 to $206.43, and Select rose $1.08 to $196.66.
Cutouts are likely at the summer low, which might attract some buying and stronger prices into August. As well, buying for Labour Day will soon start. Canadian beef prices were not available.