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 test lows
The Canfax weekly weighted average for fed steers was $142.21 per hundredweight, down $4.62, and heifers were $142.87, down $3.45.
Dressed sales were from $235-$242 per cwt. delivered.
Delivery dates between the two major Alberta plants varied from two to five weeks out.
The weaker Chicago cattle futures market and a stronger Canadian dollar weighed down Canadian cash cattle prices.
The weekly cash-to-futures basis firmed modestly to a seasonally strong -$4.97.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to Aug. 13 rebounded following a short kill week to 40,897 head.
Western fed slaughter is up two percent for the year.
Weekly exports to Aug. 6 rose to 3,911 head.
Exports for the year are up 40 percent.
Market-ready supply will be adequate in coming weeks, and weight discounts are anticipated.
Feedlots will be pressured to sell to avoid weight build-ups.
Packer margins are profitable, and both major plants have reportedly added a Saturday kill.
Steer and heifer carcass weights fell two pounds, but weights usually start to rise at this time of year.
Prices could again test annual lows this week.
In the United States, Plains cash fed cattle sold at mostly US$117-$118 per cwt., steady to $2 lower.
Dressed sales in the northern U.S. were steady to $2 per cwt. lower than the previous week with trade from $185-$187 delivered.
U.S. cattle on feed
Cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in July rose two percent compared to a year earlier, topping analysts’ expectations.
The total number of cattle in U.S. feedlots was up two percent at slightly more than 10 million. The trade on average expected a 1.4 percent increase.
D1, D2 cows ranged $90-$113 in light trade to average $100.14 per cwt., down $1.16. D3 cows ranged $80-$95 to average $88.75.
Rail grade cows ranged $191-$196.
D1, D2 prices are $40 below a year ago. Large fed kills have limited the demand for cull cows. This is the time of year that cull cow prices peak.
Over the last 10 years, there has never been a week in September when cow prices were higher than prices in the third week of August.
Slaughter bulls averaged $125.08, up $2.33.
Feeder trade light
Volumes were down significantly from the previous week and well below last year.
Most of the trade was done through internet and satellite sales.
Most of the price weakness was at the end of the week, weighed down by a stronger loonie, a weaker fed market and lower Chicago cattle futures.
There was buying interest from Eastern Canada and the U.S. Heavier heifers fell the most on weak demand.
Feeder exports for the holiday week were among the lowest of the year, but numbers are expected to seasonally increase.
Auction volumes are also expected to increase, but good grass conditions and the disappointing market are expected to delay marketings.
Several lots of feeders offered at electronic sales last week were pulled back because of weak bids.
Weaker feed grain prices will help feeders’ bottom lines, but overall the market remains weighed down by a weak futures market and ample cattle supplies.