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 rise

Prices for both fed steers and fed heifers rose slightly over the previous week, up 28 cents per hundredweight to $142.07 on steers and up 10 cents to $140.83 on heifers.

Alberta fed steer prices moved off annual lows while Ontario fed prices were $4.50 softer week over week with new lows established. On a cash-to-cash basis, Alberta fed prices moved to a premium against the Nebraska market.

Over the past 12 years, this is the first time during August where cash-to-cash basis levels were at a premium to the Nebraska market. With historically strong basis levels, all reported cash sales traded locally with no U.S. buying interest to speak of.

Based on the most recent Canfax trends data, calves are seeing profits from $170-$200 per head while shortkeep steers and heifers are seeing profits from $65-$141 per head. Recent dressed sales range from $236-$240 delivered.

Most of the cattle bought last week were scheduled for late August or early September delivery. Cattle bought earlier this month are being lifted earlier than initially indicated.

In western Canada for the week ending Aug. 12 cattle grading B4 totaled 1,274 head, the largest volume in more than a year.

For the month of July, Western Canadian fed cattle exports to the U.S. were up 62 percent compared to last year.

In the United States, dressed sales ranged from US$173-$178, which was $8 lower than the previous week. Southern regions traded $5 lower on a live basis.

Fed prices are now trading at the lowest levels since mid-December. Given weakness in the fed cattle market, feeder and calf values have remained quite strong.

From their highs in May, fed prices have dropped 24 percent while 850 pound steers have only dropped around five percent.

Omaha cash corn prices have trended lower and are now being reported just under $3.25 per bushel.

From the June highs, Omaha corn prices have dropped 10 percent.

Cow bids are up

Prices for D1 and D2 cows traded in a range of Cdn$92 to $106, to average $99.42. That’s up $1.29 from the previous week and comes after a seven-week price decline.

Dressed slaughter cow bids realigned to around $186-$191 delivered. Butcher bull prices eased slightly lower to average $115.33 per cwt. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending Aug. 12 was down 17 percent from the previous week totaling 4,669 head.

Year-to-date western non-fed slaughter was 10 percent larger at 215,678 head. Canadian non-fed exports to the U.S. for the week ending Aug. 5 eased modestly to 3,049 head. Year to date non-fed exports are 26 percent smaller at 114,507 head.

Feeders look stable

Alberta feeder prices stabilized over the previous week with good demand for all weights. Fed marketings have been larger than year ago for five straight months and feedlots need to restock.

With the exception of 500-600 lb. steers, calves less than 700 lb. saw prices steady to modestly higher than the previous week. Yearling prices for immediate and deferred delivery were generally priced comparably.

Auction volumes were supplemented by a couple of special yearling sales and total volumes surged to 23,948 head. Year-to-date volumes of 733,627 head were 16 percent larger than the same week last year. Feeder exports to the U.S. for week ending Aug. 5 were 34 percent larger than the previous week at 2,543 head.

Year-to-date feeder exports remain significantly lower than year ago, totaling 87,453 head. Prices for cow-calf pairs were not available.

Beef prices lower

In beef trade, the U.S. Choice cutout dropped below $200 per cwt. over the previous week with a $5 per cwt week-to-week decline. Select was down $1.99 per cwt. Demand was generally light to moderate. Offerings turned heavy in mid-week as packers looked to clear inventories. Prices were down across the board.

Canadian cutout values for the week ending July 22 were unavailable.

The Consumer Price Index published last week showed increased meat prices from June to July. The CPI for beef, pork and chicken was up 0.5 percent, 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent respectively. Compared to July 2016, beef was up 0.5 percent, chicken was up 2.7 percent while pork was down 0.7 percent.

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