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 down
The Canfax weighted average for steers fell $5.77 to $150.78 per hundredweight, and heifers were down $4.24 to $151.28.
Packers have three to four weeks of supplies, and the market lacked competition.
Cattle futures showed some stability, but U.S. beef cut-out values fell as they normally do at this time of year.
The Alberta cash-to-futures basis weakened to -$5.75.
However, the Alberta cash-to-Nebraska cash basis encouraged cattle movement, and most sales turned a profit.
Muddy pens in northern feeding areas forced a few fed cattle to market.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to June 24 was the largest this year, totalling 42,014 head.
Weekly exports to June 17 rose 20 percent to 5,861 head.
Average fed steer prices were 21 percent lower than the May spring high.
Prices early last week showed some stability, but U.S. fed prices are expected to fall further, which should limit rallies in Canada.
Feedlots are current in their marketing, and cattle still on feed could stay there to help support prices.
Cull cows are moving through auction marts in decent volumes. Increased supplies of fed cattle have likely reduced the competition for non-fed cattle.
D1, D2 ranged $100-$120 to average $109.07, down $2.60.
D3 cows ranged $89-$104 to average $95.50.
Rail grade cows ranged $203-$208.
Prices were the lowest in nine weeks.
Dry weather is becoming a concern in much of the southern Prairies and northern United States. If it seriously limits grass, it has the potential to send more cows to market.
The decline in feedlot margins plus the rise in feed costs and the Canadian dollar are all weighing on the feeder market.
Few feeders were at auction last week, which is normal for this time of year.
Some areas are getting dry and may have to move cattle earlier than normal.
Meanwhile, feedlots in the north have extremely wet conditions and are not placing cattle. In some cases they have been moving cattle out.
The market was weaker for the third week in a row. In the last three weeks, 550 pound steer prices have fallen more than $25 per cwt., and 850 lb. steers are down almost $20.
It is normal for light calf prices to lose relative to heavier feeders at this time.
Normally the highs for calf prices are behind us, while heavy feeders could see further strength into the fall.
The supply of yearlings available off grass is expected to be modest, and local feedlot demand should support the feeder market, but feed prices and the value of the loonie will have a bearing on where the market winds up.
US beef down
U.S. beef cut-out values fell as they normally do after July 4 buying is complete.
The Choice cutout traded June 29 down US$16.33 from the previous week at $226.55 per cwt. Ribs plummeted more than $60 and other summer grilling favourites, loin and brisket, slid about $20 and $24 lower, respectively.
Select saw a more modest weekly decline of $6.76 to $210.16.
Weekly Canadian AAA cut-out values to June 17 were down $3.27 at $312.72. That was $22.05 higher than last year at the same point.
The AA cutout fell almost $6 to $271.98. It was $13.67 stronger than year ago.