Canfax report

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

Records fall again

The Canfax steer weighted average was a new record at $180.38 per hundredweight, up $4.67 in light trade.

The modest cash offering saw improved competition with American packers making purchases.

The weekly cash-to-futures basis strengthened sharply to -$10.01 and is now in line with the five-year average. Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to Nov. 22 rose 18 percent to 30,330 head.

Weekly fed exports to Nov. 15 rose 18 percent to 10,574 head. Fed exports total 349,365 to date, up 11 percent from last year.

The cash market is mirroring contract and formula pricing, and this trend is expected to continue. However, the narrower fed basis could discourage U.S. packer interest.

Cows steady

Volumes at auction were large, but strong demand from packers and some feedlots kept prices steady.

D1, D2 cows were $115-$140 to average $126.29. D3 cows were $100-$120 to average $110.86. Railgrade cows were $243-$248.

Slaughter levels are creeping up, but they have yet to top the weekly highs set in January.

Slaughter could increase, and U.S. demand is also expected to remain strong, supporting current prices.

Feeders rise

Quality calves were generally steady to slightly higher, despite lower Chicago cattle futures.

Volumes seasonally declined. Heavier feeders were a little weaker, likely because of the quality available. Price ranges were wide as a result of this quality variation.

Steer and heifer calves 500-600 pounds, from Saskatchewan and Manitoba added to their premium over Alberta prices.

Many large Alberta feedlots have as many or more cattle on feed than a year ago, but they continue to buy calves to be backgrounded as feedlot replacements in the spring. Feeder exports for the year could be at their fourth highest level in the last 20 years at slightly more than 450,000 head.

Calf and feeder marketings will continue to decline into the end of the year, while local and U.S. demand is expected to remain firm.

The Canadian dollar may be the biggest market changer. It is falling as the price of crude oil drops.

Beef stronger

U.S. cutouts rose with Choice up US$1.74 at $257.13 per cwt. and Select up $1.01 at $244.

Last-minute procurements for the holidays are expected to develop this week, but further price advance will be limited once the buying is done.

Canadian cut-out values firmed throughout mid-October to mid-November.

AAA reached a new record at C$279.37 per cwt. in the first week of November before falling to $277.52 the following week. AA climbed to $270.10. The AAA-Choice spread narrowed to -$4-$7 per cwt. in early November compared to -$8-$11 in late October.

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