Canfax report

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

Fed cattle lower

The Canfax weighted fed steer average was $133.58 per hundredweight, down about $4. Heifers averaged $132.74.

Dressed sales were $224-$225 delivered, generally $7-$8.50 per cwt. lower than the previous week.

All three federally inspected Alberta packers procured cattle and were scheduling for two to three week delivery.

Canadian steer carcasses for the week ending Sept. 2 fell one pound to 906 lb. They were 15 lb. lighter than last year.

Feedlot inventories were generally current, and dressing percentages are reported around the standard steer benchmarks of 60 percent and heifers at 59.5 percent.

Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to Sept. 2 fell four percent to 41,141 head.

Weekly exports to Aug. 26 rebounded 40 percent to 5,939 head. For the year they are up eight percent at 205,346 head.

Alberta weekly fed prices have been tracking the 2016 and five-year price trend for the past 10 weeks. Annual lows usually occur between mid-September and mid-October. Large feeder placements in the first half of this year will maintain an adequate market-ready supply, so annual lows this year could occur in mid to late October.

In the United States, a week-long standoff broke late in the week with a few dressed sales in the north steady to $3 higher at US$168 delivered. Limited live trade in the north and south was at $105, up about 50 cents.

Cows down

Volumes seasonally increased, but were relatively modest even with dry conditions.

D1, D2 cows ranged $82-$98 to average $89.62 per cwt., down $5.88. D3 cows ranged $78-$87 to average $82. Rail grade cows ranged $178-$183.

Slaughter bulls averaged $108.54, down $4.91.

Large fed cattle supplies and the continued premium that Canadian cows have over the U.S. market have reduced demand for non-fed animals.

The stronger Canadian dollar is also adding pressure to the markets for cows and ground beef.

Supplies will increase soon as cow-calf producers cull herds to match winter feed supplies.

Feeders mixed

Steers weakened while heifers were steady with light heifers in good demand.

Yearling price averages were under pressure on limited numbers and quality at auction.

Most yearlings are now trading on electronic sales or sold privately.

Overall, auction volumes were steady but larger than a year ago.

Forward-sold calf prices are well supported, and the large lots are often fetching premiums over the cash market.

Steers 500 lb. for fall delivery were mostly at $205-$220 per cwt.

The feeder cash-to-futures basis weakened a couple of dollars but is historically strong.

The 750 lb. basis was $18.15 while 850 lb. was $6.43. It was the fifth consecutive week that they have been positive.

September tends to be the strongest basis month of the year.

Chicago cattle futures showed good strength last week, but the Canadian dollar rose to US82.5 cents, the strongest in more than two years.

Yearling prices should remain well supported on modest offerings and solid feedlot demand.

Calf volumes will likely start to pick up as producers complete harvest and as pastures dry up. Calf prices could start to see seasonal price pressure.

US beef flat

Choice rose 22 cents to US$192.13 per cwt. and Select was down $1.18 at $190.16.

The Choice-Select spread widened to $1.97 per cwt., but re-mained narrower than last year’s $6.51.

Lower production in the holiday-shortened week provided some price support. Also, the recent decline in cut-out value combined with grilling demand for the Labour Day holiday encouraged beef features at the retail sector.

Canadian boxed beef values were unavailable.


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