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 prices lower

From January high to August low, fed prices have dropped 15.2 percent. Over the past 10 years the average decline from highs to lows is 18 percent.

Canfax Trends data reports losses over the past two months on yearling steers anywhere from $75-$110 per head. Though feeding margins are negative, it appears fed cattle supplies are not being backed up because steer carcass weights are below last year.

Last week, fed prices were mixed with heifers establishing a new annual low. Dressed sales ranged from $238-$240 per hundredweight delivered. Most of the cattle traded last week will be lifted in the next week or two.

Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending Aug. 25 totalled 46,018 head, the fourth largest weekly slaughter volume seen this year. Western Canadian steer carcass weights averaged 899 lb. Alberta fed cash to futures basis levels went from +1.03 to +0.62 last week.

Over the past 23 years, figures show September has the highest probability of establishing summer lows.

Cows steady

Slaughter cow prices were relatively steady last week on ample offering. D2 prices firmed almost $1 per cwt. higher to average $88.81. D3 prices eased $1.25 per cwt. lower. Dressed cow bids firmed to around $168-$173 per cwt. Butcher bull prices softened to average $111.33.

Calves come to market

Feeder prices eased lower last week as deteriorating pastures flushed yearlings and cow-calf pairs to market. Pairs are being split at auction and light calves less than 400 lb. traded unevenly with steer calves sliding $5 per cwt. lower. Same weight heifers trended steady.

Stocker calves from 400-600 lb. saw prices slip $2.50-$6.50 per cwt. lower than the previous week. Good demand was observed for fall calves and feeders from 600-800 lb., and prices were reported fully steady to $4.25 per cwt. higher. Yearlings over 800 lb. generally trended lower than the previous week. August auction volumes in Alberta were 37 percent larger than year ago and 35 percent larger than the five-year average.

Beef trade slips

In U.S. beef trade, the U.S. Choice cutout slipped $2.64 per cwt. lower last week to US$211.73. Select dipped $1.78 per cwt. lower to $202.21 on light to moderate offerings.

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