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 higher
The Canfax steer weighted average was $132.81 per hundredweight, up $1.18. There was no heifer average because of the small number.
Dressed sales were $2-$3 per cwt. higher than the previous week.
Heavy cattle moved, but a significant part of the speculative offering was carried over.
The Alberta cash to Nebraska cash basis continued to weaken.
Weekly Canadian steer carcasses to Sept. 30 fell two pounds to 922 lb. U.S. steer carcasses to Sept. 23 were steady at 897 lb.
Weekly western Canadian fed slaughter to Sept. 30 fell one percent to 40,187 head. Slaughter is up six percent for the year.
Weekly exports to Sept. 23 slipped to 6,887 head. They are up seven percent on the year.
Alberta feedlots have worked through the bulge of late summer fed cattle.
However, feedlot managers must intensively manage slaughter weights to keep supplies current.
Market supplies are expected to moderate, and increased seasonal holiday demand should support prices.
In the U.S., the market tone Oct. 6 was steady to higher as packer bids firmed to US$109 in the south and $174 dressed in the north.
In general, cow volumes have not been burdensome.
D1, D2 cows ranged $81-$95 per cwt. to average $88.63, up $1.20. D3 cows ranged $70-$85 to average $78.40. Rail grade cows ranged $170-$175.
Slaughter bulls averaged $101.05, up 50 cents.
D1, D2 cow prices do not usually strengthen from September to October.
The volume of cows at auction should rise in coming weeks, but prices are expected to hold in the mid to upper $80s in the short term.
American 90 percent trim prices have struggled, dropping six percent since the end of August.
Feeder steers and heifers over 800 lb. were $2-$5 shy of their annual highs set back in June.
The 850 lb. steer price as a percentage of the fed steer price was 1.48 percent, compared to the October five-year average of 1.30 percent.
There has only been one other time in the past 10 years — September 2015 at 1.51 — when feeders as a percent of fed cattle were higher than 1.48 percent.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba calf prices are now trading steady to a slight premium over the Alberta market.
Eastern buying demand and cheaper feed costs in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are two possible factors supporting the strong eastern prairie calf market.
Weekly feeder exports totalled 3,165 head, the most since the end of April.
However, there is talk that U.S. feeders are coming into Western Canada to be finished. If true, it would put a cap on Canadian calf and feeder prices.
Canadian barley prices are expensive relative to U.S. corn, prompting some corn imports into southern Alberta.
U.S. boxed beef to Oct. 5 saw Choice rise 61 cents to $197.25 per cwt. and Select fall 33 cents to $188.78. Weekly Canadian cut-out values to Sept. 30 saw AAA up $3.29 to C$242.49 and AA up $1.47 to $233.63.
The AAA cutout moved back to a discount to U.S. Choice with the AAA-Choice spread at -$1.30 compared to +$2.30 the previous week.
The AA-Select spread was -$3.30, compared to -37 cents the previous week.