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
For the sixth consecutive week, western Canadian fed prices have rallied, rising to the mid $140s per hundredweight from the low $130s.
The weekly average for steers was $145.15 per cwt., up $2.71, and heifers were $144.47, up $3.05.
Second half highs are often set in either November or December.
The market would have to rally another $3.75 if July highs are to be overtaken.
In Alberta, one plant was doing most of the buying, and delivery was mostly scheduled for the first week of December.
It was the second consecutive week that more heifers were slaughtered than steers in Western Canada.
Heifer weights rose 16 pounds to average 864 lb., the heaviest reported since April. Canadian weekly beef production from fed cattle topped 37 million pounds, up four percent from last year and 10 percent larger than the 10-year average.
Strength on the Chicago cattle futures market and the softer Canadian dollar has producers looking more seriously at contracting cattle direct to the packer or buying coverage under the Cattle Price Insurance Program. Strengthening cash cattle prices will mean processors will also have to keep ratcheting beef prices higher to maintain margins.
We are moving into a strong beef demand period as retailers and the food service sector buy for Christmas and New Year’s needs.
The U.S. fed cash market wrapped up before the American Thanksgiving with dressed sales in the north steady to US$6 higher than the previous week while southern regions traded steady to $3 higher on a live basis.
D1, D2 cows ranged C$77-$94 to average $85 per cwt., up $2.25.
D3 cows ranged $69-$85 to average $77.42. Dressed cow bids firmed to $163-$168 delivered.
Butcher bull prices rallied more than $4 to average $103.56.
Weekly western Canadian non-fed slaughter to Nov. 19 fell four percent to 9,709 head.
Weekly exports to Nov. 12 fell 13 percent to 5,833 head.
Non-fed volumes are expected to seasonally tighten and prices should be steady.
Stronger fed prices and rising cattle futures lifted the feeder market.
New crop calves saw keen buying interest and prices surged $8.50-10.50. Feeders heavier than 600 lb. rose $4-$7.
Weekly auction volumes rose 16 percent to 68,070 head.
The week ending Nov. 12 included the U.S. election and Canadian Remembrance Day holiday, which might explain weekly exports of only 998 feeders.
The feeder market in the coming weeks should see good demand and tighter supply.
Auction volumes since October have been only slightly lower than last year. Buy orders will need to be filled, and there will also be buying before year end for tax reasons.
Higher fed cattle prices and the seasonal demand for middle meats lifted U.S. boxed beef prices.
Choice was up US $4.33 at $186.64 and Select up $3.02 at $170.12.
While the overall cutout is down nine to 12 percent from a year ago, the value of rib primal is holding strong. The strong demand for middle meats is expected to support the cutout moving into December.
Canadian cut-out values for the week ending Nov. 18 were unavailable.