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 www.canfax.ca.

Stronger fed price

Fed prices have strengthened by $6.75 per hundredweight over the past three weeks. Fed steers averaged $154.83 last week, while fed heifers averaged $154.17. Last week’s dressed sales were reported at $250 per cwt., mostly scheduled for delivery the week of March 25.

Light volumes traded to the United States last week with sales reported from US$197-$202 per cwt. Most cash cattle marketed to the U.S. in recent weeks are being lifted within one week.

Canadian steer carcass weights average 893 pounds, two lb. larger than last year, and heifer weights are 23 lb. larger than last year. Alberta fed cash to futures basis levels strengthened from -19.93 to -13.93 per cwt. last week.

Weekly import data from Japan suggests imports from Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership countries are trending higher, and imports of U.S. beef have slowed due to the higher tariff rate of 38.5 percent.

In the U.S., dressed sales in the north ranged from $203-$205 per cwt., which was $1-$2 lower than the previous week. Southern regions also traded slightly lower. A winter storm in the central U.S. last week caused some packers to cancel shifts. Less than ideal pen conditions also continue to affect performance, which has moderated demand for bunk replacements.

Cows trade steady

Slaughter cow prices were steady last week at auction with moderate supplies. Dressed bids firmed modestly to C$164-$169 per cwt. delivered. D2 cows sold for $77-$92, averaging $84.94, and D3s averaged $75.08. Butcher bull prices rallied $5.50 per cwt. higher last week, averaging $103.54, and were the highest seen since last September.

Canadian non-fed slaughter volumes for the week ending March 9 were steady with the previous week at 9,714 head. Year to date western non-fed slaughter was 14 percent larger, totalling 99,780 head.

Feeder rally starts

Feeder prices were modestly higher last week as the spring fed market seasonally began to rally. Stocker calves less than 500 lb. saw good demand and prices trended steady to sharply higher.

Larger calves over 500 lb. traded unevenly steady with good grass and feedlot demand. Big feeders over 800 lb. traded contra-seasonally last week with prices reported fully steady to higher.

Auction volumes of 34,379 head were one percent larger than the previous week and 14 percent lower than the same week last year. Year to date auction volumes are down eight percent compared with a year ago. Backgrounded feeder exports to the U.S. have seasonally ramped larger over the past three weeks, and American buying interest is also being reported at western Canadian auctions.

Spring raises demand

In U.S. beef trade, cut-out values trended modestly higher last week with light to moderate demand on a generally light offering. The Choice cut-out value averaged US$227.70, up slightly from the previous week, and Select averaged $218.76, little changed. Spring beef demand is expected to improve, and cut-out values could see a modest rally this week.

Canadian cut-out values for the week ending March 8 were bullish, with AAA firming C$1.66 per cwt. higher to $275.24 and AA trading steady at $266.66.

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