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 sharply lower
The Canfax weighted average steer price was $160.73 per hundredweight, down $8.94 and the lowest price since August 2014.
Heifers were $131.42, down $7.19.
It was the first time since March 2013 that fed prices were below year ago levels.
Dressed sales were down $10-$20 per cwt. from the previous week.
Both Alberta plants were scheduling cattle for delivery for the first half of November.
Slaughter has been less than the same week last year in four of the past five weeks.
Weak consumer demand and heavy carcass weights, which are being heavily penalized with discounts, are weighing on fed prices on both sides of the border.
In most years the basis relative to American cash and futures prices weakens in October.
October will likely see continued weak prices, but the annual low is being set.
Market-ready numbers should tighten into November, and consumer demand usually picks up later in the year, which supports prices. However, some worry that it might take longer than expected to clear the backlog.
Slaughter cow prices eased $1.50-$2.50 per cwt.
D1, D2 cows ranged $122-$138 to average $130, and D3 cows were $109-$125 to average $116.
Rail grade prices were also down at $246 to $251.
The slaughter bull average was sharply lower at $158.57 per cwt.
Weekly western Canadian slaughter to Sept. 26 fell four percent to 4,583 head.
Weekly exports to Sept 19 edged up to 6,933 head to offset reduced slaughter.
Rail bids on cows could fall $10 as harvest winds down, calves are weaned and auction volume increases.
Alberta feeder prices fell sharply, down $12.50 per cwt. from the previous week.
Harvest may have distracted some buyers from the market, but projected negative feeding margins were the major reason feeder prices have tumbled.
Projected fed market losses for placing middle weight calves could be more than $300 per head.
Calves 300-500 pounds fell $16-$19, and 500-700 lb. were $13-$17 lower.
Feeders heavier than 800 lb. were $4-$7.50 lower.
Still, light calves were a little higher than last year at the same time, and feeder heifer than 500 lb. were $15-$21 higher.
However, feeder and stocker prices could soon fall to below year ago levels, considering the weak futures market.
Weekly auction volume fell 30 percent to 24,715 head.
Weekly feeder exports to Sept. 19 fell 35 percent to 3,660.
The Choice cutout fell to US$207.55 last week, down $7.30, and Select was $203.21, down $8.41.
Weekly Canadian boxed beef prices to Sept. 25 fell for the fourth straight week. AAA was C$283.35, down $8.78, and AA was $272.58, down $12.75.