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

Last week Canada had its largest weekly slaughter since July 2010 at 67,975 head. Year to date slaughter is up nine percent over 2017.

More heifers are going to market with the kill being nine percent higher than last year, while steer slaughter is up seven percent.

Steer carcass weights for the week ending June 23 were five pounds lighter than the previous week and seven lb. lighter than a year ago. More than half were graded AAA followed by a large share at AA.

So far, more than 1.3 million head have been processed.

The U.S. weekly slaughter posted its largest kill numbers since October 2011. U.S. slaughter numbers are expected to remain elevated throughout the summer months due to the large amount of cattle on feed. In addition, the U.S. expansion is coming to a halt, reflected in the increase in higher female slaughter numbers.

That high level of slaughter is building up beef supplies with U.S. production being the greatest since 2008.

Fed cattle prices up

Alberta direct fed cattle rebounded higher for the week ending June 29 with stronger prices toward the end of the week.

Dressed prices were $3-$4.50 per hundredweight higher than the previous week, and the majority of sales were dressed from $247-$249 per cwt. delivered.

Live trade was scant, but prices were $3 per cwt. higher than last week at $148 per cwt.

Weighted average prices ended the week $2.75 per cwt. higher than the previous week. Average fed steer prices this week were $3 per cwt. lower than the same week last year. Active buyers picked up the bulk of the fed offering with delivery scheduled for mid July.

Steer carcass weights for the week ending June 23 were five lb. lighter than the previous week and seven lb. lighter than a year ago. More than half were graded AAA followed by a large share at AA.

Seasonal decline for cows

Cattle are out on grass, so there is a seasonal decline in cow and bull marketings. For the week ending June 23, western Canadian cow slaughter volumes were slightly more than 6,000 head, but cow slaughter is up 12 percent from last year.

This is the largest cow slaughter volume for this particular week since 2010.

D2 cow prices have trended sideways and are staying just under $90 per cwt. This is a nine percent drop since the highs of May.

Even with a smaller price premium to the U.S. this year, more non-fed cattle are staying in Canada to be slaughtered and fewer are being exported.

Feeder uptick

A softer Canadian dollar, lower barley prices and the recent improvement in the fed price were responsible for a new annual high in feeders steers in the 900 lb. range.

However, volumes coming to market are light with most of the activity in Alberta. Most of the yearlings that are being marketed off grass are one-owner cattle.

There is a significant price difference between grass cattle and feeders coming out of backgrounding lots.

The forward delivery market was lightly tested this week and prices were mostly steady with last week.

Alberta steers based at 1,000 lb. for August and September delivery traded from $181.50-$182.75 per cwt.

Forward delivery prices for yearlings off grass are similar with last year’s figures.

Last week on a cash to cash basis, Alberta steers weighing 550 lb. traded at a$22 per cwt. discount to the U.S. market.

Beef values down

U.S. cut-out values trended seasonally lower last week with moderate demand.

The Choice cutout slipped $4 per cwt. lower than last week, while Select was $1 per cwt. lower.

Loins were also seasonally softer with Choice and Select down $11.50 per cwt. and $4 per cwt., respectively. Briskets traded mixed this week with Choice lower and Select firming higher. Chuck and round primal trended mostly steady to $3 per cwt. higher.

Beef trimmings continued to struggle with 50 percent lean dipping $4 per cwt. lower on generally light demand and a moderate offering. Meanwhile, 73 percent ground beef firmed at $7 per cwt. higher.

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