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 weekly weighted average for fed steers and heifers was not available.
Local sale volumes were too light to establish a weighted average steer or heifer price, however the market tone was lower. Dressed sales were reported in the mid $220s on a delivered basis and initial sales were $8-15 per hundredweight lower than the previous week.
A few cattle also traded on a live basis with prices $6 per cwt. lower than last week’s weighted average price. Tentatively on the few cattle that were marketed this week on a cash to cash basis, Alberta prices traded $10.75 back of the Nebraska market.
Closing the week $3-$5 lower, Ontario fed prices are now at the lowest levels seen since December 2013. Equity drain within the feedlot sector continues to persist as cattle continue to be sold offside.
Based off the Canfax Trends program, feedlots that have been selling cattle on the cash market have been dealing with negative margins for the past 13 months.
Based on yearling steers, the average losses over that time are just short of $300 per head.
Western Canadian fed cattle slaughter averaged 39,099 head on a weekly basis compared to 34,872 head last year.
In addition to big slaughter volumes, export numbers have also been running above year ago levels.
For 2016, January highs remain firmly intact. Looking back over the past 25 years, there have only been two other times that annual highs occurred in January, that being in 1995 and 2006. It is interesting to note in both of those years annual lows occurred during the month of August.
From August lows to fourth quarter highs, fed prices rallied 14 percent in 1995 and six percent in 2006.
D1, D2 cows ranged $94-$109 in light to moderate trade to average $100.57 per cwt., down 87 cents. D3 cows ranged $82-$99 to average $90.50, up $2.92.
Rail grade cows ranged $191-$196.
Slaughter bull prices were mostly steady at $124.
YTD western Canadian non-fed slaughter is 11 percent larger with a total of 206,613 head.
Canadian non-fed exports to the U.S. have been very static over the past seven weeks and totaled 4,394 head for the week ending Aug. 20.
YTD non-fed exports of 163,387 head were down seven percent.
Steady prices are anticipated until fall culls hit the market in October.
Alberta feeder cattle traded mixed this week with calf prices generally steady to higher while yearling prices trended steadily lower as the week progressed.
Average steer prices were $3.33 per cwt. lower this week as steers over 600 lbs plummeted $4 to $7 per cwt. lower.
Heifer prices fared slightly better averaging mostly steady with the previous week.
Heifer calves less than 600 lb. saw prices firm $2.50-$5 per cwt. higher while larger contemporaries traded moderately $1.50-3.00 per cwt. lower.
Calf volumes were generally light.
Total auction volumes however continue to trend seasonally larger as yearlings come in off grass.
A moderate volume of large yearlings from 1,000-1,200 lb. were on offer this week.
Total weekly sales volumes of 29,295 head surged 94 percent larger than the previous week.
YTD volumes of 678,118 head are nine percent below year ago.
USDA reports that Canadian feeder exports to the U.S. for the week ending Aug. 20 trended sideways at 1,834 head.
Total YTD feeder exports of 148,186 head were down 39 percent compared with year ago.
Auction volumes will continue to increase moving forward but significant volumes of calves are not anticipated until the end of the month.
Yearling prices are expected to realign lower moving forward to negate projected feeding loss. A softer tone is anticipated for the calf market next week.
U.S. boxed beef prices closed at new annual lows this week with Choice down $4.62 at $195.74 per cwt. and Select down $5.66 at $188.49 per cwt.
Canadian boxed beef prices for the week ending Aug. 27 are unavailable.