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 market lower
Fed steers last week averaged $156.17 per hundredweight, down $2.15.
Western slaughter volume has increased as more cows and eastern Canadian fed cattle entered the mix.
Packers appear to have less urgency to buy cattle compared to a couple weeks ago.
Still, premiums were noted for nearby delivery. Cattle that could be delivered by the first half of February saw bids and sales of $262-$264 delivered. Second half February delivery saw prices of $258-$260 delivered.
Western Canadian fed slaughter volume totalled 27,230 head, down a little from the previous week. However, overall western slaughter, including non-fed, was 37,203, up four percent from the previous week.
Total western slaughter for the year so far is down five percent.
Steer and heifer carcass weights are lighter than last year, which means domestic beef production from fed cattle is down 10 percent.
Canadian fed exports to the United States usually pick up in February, but that is not likely this year. Alberta fed cattle prices have fetched a premium to the Nebraska market recently.
Also, Canadian AAA cut-out values are at a premium against the U.S. Choice cutout.
Live fed cattle prices are expected to range $153-$156 for the rest of February.
An increased volume of slaughter cows weighed down prices.
D1, D2 cows ranged $87-$100 to average $93.14 per cwt., down $2.11.
D3 cows ranged $70-$90 to average $82, down more than $3.
Dressed cows were lower, ranging $180-185 per cwt. delivered.
Butcher bulls were mostly steady to average $104.40 per cwt., down 46 cents. Weekly western Canadian non-fed slaughter to Jan. 28 rose 11 percent to 9,973 head.
Weekly exports to Jan. 21 fell to 3,841 head.
The Alberta feeder steer average fell $4.75 and heifers were $5.75 lower.
Calves lighter than 400 pounds saw improved interest from grazers and steer calf prices firmed modestly, but heifers fell $3.
All feeders heavier than 400 pounds were $5-$8 lower.
Feeders 400-700 lb. were generally $4-6 lower.
Feeders heavier than 700 lb. that will be placed against the doldrums of the summer market fell $6-$8.
Indices plummeted more than $7 with calves at $187.98 and feeders at $167.15.
The weekly auction volume at 29,006 head was down 19 percent from the previous week but 24 percent larger than a year ago.
Weekly feeder exports to Jan. 21 were modest at 942 head.
Calf prices should stabilize soon as interest picks up for animals to put on grass and to market in the fourth quarter.
Lacklustre profitability and the falling futures market will likely pressure prices lower on larger feeders.
US beef steady
The Choice cutout was steady at US $193 per cwt. and Select rose 88 cents to $190.62 Feb. 2.
U.S. cattle slaughter was up 2.8 percent. That, coupled with seasonally slow beef demand, is expected to pressure cutouts this week.
Weekly Canadian cutout values to Jan. 28 rose with AAA up $6.85 to cwt. and AA up $6.41. The AAA was fetching a $4.75 premium over Choice and AA was at a $2.50 premium to Select.