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.
Fed price stabilizes
The Canfax weighted average steer price was $143.01 per hundredweight, up 54 cents from the previous week. There was no heifer average.
The price was $4 lower than the same time last year and down $2.50 from the five-year average.
There were no sales to U.S. buyers, and one Alberta packer bought the lion’s share of the cash cattle.
Dressed sales were $238-$241 delivered.
Cattle were mostly scheduled for delivery in the week of Aug. 14, but by the end of the week the delivery point was pushed back to Aug. 21.
The Alberta-to-Nebraska cash basis was about -$4.75. It would be the second strongest August basis in 12 years.
Weekly western Canadian slaughter to July 29 was 47,500 head, the most for a week since July 2010.
Packers are drawing on their contracted cattle, and by the second half of the month that supply should mostly be delivered.
In 20 of the past 30 years prices rose into August. The average for those 20 years was two percent.
If that held, prices in August would average $146.
In the United States, cash live sales in the south were at US$117-$118 by the end of the week. Dressed sales in the north were $186-$189, similar to the previous week.
Because of a rapid rise in its beef imports, Japan has triggered an increase in its tariff on frozen beef, which will rise to 50 percent from 38.5 percent.
Overall, these tariffs are not likely to have a noticeable market impact, given the many dimensions to the Canadian market, but it does point to the importance of having free trade agreements that provide more consistent market access. If the Trans-Pacific Partnership had been implemented, tariff rates would likely be going down rather than up.
D1, D2 cows ranged C$92-$106 to average $99.38 per cwt., down $2.63.
D3 cows ranged $80-$96 to average $88.21.
Rail grade cows ranged $187-$192 per cwt.
Bulls averaged $116.60, down $3.46.
The large number of fed cattle available has reduced demand for non-fed animals, but nevertheless, slaughter last week at 5,166 was up 1,000 from the previous week. Also, the stronger Canadian dollar is weighing on the price. However, the market here still has a premium over the U.S.
Feeder market mixed
Calves were under pressure while heavier feeders edged higher on light volumes.
There was a wide price range on lighter animals because fresh calves have started to come to market.
Steer calves 550 pounds have fallen $40 from their highs but are still up $9 over last year at this time.
Heavier feeders rose because supply is fairly light and feedlots are looking for replacements.
Western feedlots did most of the buying.
Forward delivery yearlings were in short supply and prices were steady with the cash market.
Feeders at electronic sales saw short lift times, likely because of poor pasture conditions.
Some electronic sales saw dry lot heifers sell at a $4-$6 discount to heifers off grass.
Auction volume was light as it usually is this time of year. It is dry in some areas, but there has not been a flush of early marketings.
Feedlots are generally profitable on the cattle they are marketing, and the feeder market should be mostly steady near term.
Cow-calf pairs were $1,700-$2,500.
US beef mixed
The U.S. Choice cutout fell US$1.27 to $205.16 while Select rose $1.12 to $197.78. The amount of U.S. beef grading Prime and Choice is much higher than usual, and yet Choice premiums over Select have been strong, indicating strong consumer demand.
Canadian cutouts were not available.