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 rise
The Canfax fed steers average last week was $202.54 per hundredweight in light trade, up $1.09.
Heifers were too few to set a price.
Alberta dressed sales were $335-$338.50.
Packers were buying for immediate slaughter needs and for cattle to be delivered in the first half of June.
Scattered cash trade in Iowa and Nebraska saw live and dressed sales generally steady with the previous week.
The strong premium of Canadian prices over the American market kept cattle at home.
Only 3,290 head were exported, the fewest this year.
June live cattle futures remain at a sizable discount to the U.S. cash trade, but American feeders and packers are cautious on worries over the sustainability of current wholesale beef prices.
However, given how active packers have been in locking up June inventory, western Canadian prices appear well supported.
Cow prices fall
The cool weather has pastures developing slowly, which has producers selling a few more cows.
D1, D2 cows ranged $140-$155 per cwt. to average $146.13, down $1.21.
D3 cows ranged $120-$139 to average $130.
Rail grade cows were $282-$287.
Slaughter bulls were $165.95, down $1.60.
Weekly western Canadian non-fed slaughter to May 9 rose 26 percent to 4,963 head.
Dry weather is causing concern in some areas of Western Canada but has yet to push significant cattle volumes to market.
The Alberta feeder market stabilized following a three week price retreat.
Average steer prices firmed more than $2 per cwt. while feeder heifers were steady.
Auction volume fell seasonally, and the supply of stockers lighter than 400 pounds was too thin to establish a price trend.
Calves lighter than 600 lb. fell $2 on reduced quality and offerings while 600-800 lb. steers saw strong grass and feedlot interest, pushing prices up $6. Similar weight heifers rose $1-$2.
Prices rose on all feeders heavier than 800 lb.
The yearling steer-to-heifer spread was the widest in six weeks. Heifers are now trading at a typical $15.50 discount to steers.
Alberta auction volume fell eight percent to 13,727 head.
Bred cows ranged $2,200-$3,150 and cow-calf pairs ranged $2,900-$4,600.
Cattle on feed
The Alberta-Saskatchewan cattle-on-feed population as of May 1 was 844,157, down 12 percent from last year.
Placements in April were 101,968, down 20 percent.
April marketings were 117,412, down 14 percent.
Other disappearance was 19,162, up 23 percent.
Placements this year are running nearly 100,000 lower than last year.
The U.S. Choice cutout reached a record high of US$264.74 per cwt., rising $7.16 from the previous week.
Select rose $5.47 to $251.31 but was $10 lower than the record set in July 2014.
Canadian boxed beef prices for the week ending May 8 were unavailable.
The Montreal wholesale price dipped to C$342-$344 per cwt.