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 prices rise
Canfax fed steers averaged $134.07 per hundredweight and heifers were $133.20, up about $5 from the previous two weeks.
Most of the trade was dressed at prices from $225-$227 delivered.
There was no significant U.S. live fed trade.
Chicago live cattle fell sharply on the last two days of the week, encouraging buyers to tighten bids.
The weekly Alberta cash-to-futures basis strengthened by $4 to -$6.92.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to Sept. 17 totalled 43,602 head, up 12 percent.
Weekly fed cattle exports to Sept. 10 dipped to 5,736 head.
Feedlots may garner some leverage heading into the fourth quarter if packers continue to maintain the large kill.
D1, D2 cows ranged $85-$97 to average $91.07 per cwt., down 51 cents.
D3 cows ranged $75-$87 to average $81.30.
Rail grade cows ranged $173-$177.
Exports to the United States are down in recent weeks, but there has not been a surge of Canadian non-fed slaughter because marketing numbers have been manageable.
Alberta D1, D2 cows remain at a small premium compared to the U.S. utility market.
Non-fed volumes are anticipated to pick up, but good grazing conditions and cheaper forage could mean a smaller run than normal.
Slaughter bulls averaged $115.05, down $1.90
Calf prices variable
It is not unusual for fall delivery calves to be at a discount to cash prices, but that is not the case this year because prices for immediate and deferred fall delivery are steady.
These calves will hit different fed marketing windows. The marketing window is narrowing, but 650 pound and heavier steer calves placed Sept. 23 could be priced against the April live cattle contract that was trading at US$106.47, while 650 lb. steers for October-November delivery would be priced against the June live contract trading at $99.75.
Assuming fed cattle basis levels are close to the five-year average, the Canfax break-even purchase price suggests the market could justify pricing in a three percent decline in prices for 650 lb. steers for November delivery compared to the current cash price.
Yearling prices last week jumped $3-$7. The yearling run has been quiet, leaving some wondering if they are still out on pasture or if the run has come and gone.
Placements of steers and heifers weighing more than 700 lb. over the past three months are down 20 percent compared to last year.
Over the past five weeks, Canadian feeder exports to the U.S. have averaged 1,825 versus 3,326 head last year.
U.S. boxed beef rises
U.S. Choice cutout rose US$1.10 to $187.37 per cwt., and Select was up 79 cents at $179.62.
The market was supported by rising demand for roasts in the fall.
Canadian boxed beef prices for the week ending Sept. 17 were unavailable.
The August Consumer Price Index showed year-over-year beef prices fell 3.2 percent, while pork fell 2.4 percent and chicken fell .2 percent.
U.S. cattle on feed
The cattle-on-feed report was considered slightly negative for cattle prices.
The number of cattle in U.S. feedlots on Sept. 1 was 10.135 million, up one percent from the previous year.
That was similar to the market’s expectation.
Placements in August were higher than expected at 1.632 million, an increase of 15 percent over the previous year when the number was record low. The trade expected a 12.6 percent increase.
Marketings in August grew 18 percent to 1.868 million head. Analysts expected a 16.7 percent increase.