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.
The Canfax fed steer-weighted average was $149.24, up $1.09, and heifers were $148.78, up $1.01.
In moderate trade, most dressed sales were at $250 delivered.
Western Canadian fed prices established new second half highs, whereas Ontario fed prices were $13 shy of highs set in July.
Canadian steer carcasses in-creased 12 pounds to average 936 lb.
With weights increasing, producers looked for flat bids with no weight breaks while others negotiated weight breaks to 1,050 lb.
A few Saskatchewan cattle traded with prices comparable to the Alberta market. With Alberta fed prices at a $9.25 premium over Ontario, Saskatchewan cattle will go west for slaughter.
Packers are not long bought. They have been pulling hard on November contract cattle and have also lifted cash cattle in a timely fashion.
All the cattle bought were scheduled for delivery in the second half of this month.
More beef is being produced, given the slaughter volumes and heavier Canadian carcass weights.
Weekly fed beef production totalled 44.6 million lb. two weeks ago, which was 10 percent larger than last year and 16 percent larger than the five-year average.
Export demand for Canadian and American beef will be critical to prevent a buildup of a surplus because production is expected to remain higher than last year.
It is not uncommon to see prices strengthen toward the end of the year. Second half highs occurred in December in four out of the past five years.
In the United States, dressed sales in Nebraska were US$192-$194, steady to $3 lower. Corn belt cattle have been trading at a discount compared to the Nebraska market. Most of the cattle that traded in Iowa saw dressed sales at $190-$192.
In the south, live prices were $123-124, which was $13 lower than top end sales in the previous week.
Alberta cull cow prices fell slightly on the large volume at market.
Still, prices are about $1.50 per cwt. higher than the low hit in September.
D1, D2 cows ranged $80-$95 to average $87.38, down 27 cents.
D3 cows ranged $70-$85.
Rail grade cows ranged $168-$173.
Slaughter bulls averaged 98.44, down 62 cents.
Demand for feeder cows has picked up the last couple of weeks and is supporting cull cow prices.
The cow market is near its low for the season.
The Ontario cow market remains at a significant discount to Alberta because the Souderton plant in Pennsylvania was closed for repairs. However, it is anticipated to reopen this week.
Large feeder volume
There was a moderate pull-back in Alberta auction volume to 91,431 head after trade exceeded 100,000 the previous two weeks. However, Saskatchewan had its second biggest run of the year with more than 53,000 head of cattle moving through auction marts.
The large volumes weakened prices on calves. The steer average fell $1.46, and heifers were down 49 cents.
There is still a moderate supply of yearling heifers available and prices were $1 higher.
Western Canadian feedlots were the main buyers because truck availability remains limited. That said, the Manitoba calf and feeder market remains well supported with demand from eastern buyers. Some of their prices were at a premium to Alberta.
Feeder exports remain minimal and some feedlots are importing American cattle.
Alberta calf prices are $50 to $60 per hundredweight higher than a year ago.
Demand for calves has held up relatively well in face of the large supplies. The largest volumes are likely behind us and could drop fairly quickly toward the end of the month. Some feedlots are starting to fill up, and rising barley prices could also soften demand.
Cattle futures have risen the last three months but had a setback last week.
Prairie on feed report
The number of cattle on feed in Alberta and Saskatchewan feedlots on Nov. 1 was 799,148, up eight percent from last year at the same time but still modest from a long-term perspective, three percent below the five year average.
Strong feeder prices had cow-calf producers in a selling mood, and the number of cattle placed on feed in October was 323,806 head, up eight percent over last year at the same time.
Placements have been stronger than the corresponding time last year in every month except January.
Marketings in October were 151,595 head, up 13 percent. It was the most marketings for October since 2008.
U.S. Choice cutouts were US$212.74, up $4.49, and Select was $198.30, up $5.14 in the week to Nov. 9.
In Canada to Nov. 4, AAA cutouts were C$248.21 up $1.35 and AA was $238.71, up $4.52.
The focus tends to shift to the rib market for holiday dining.