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.

Fed prices rally

The fed market seasonally declined over the summer but has performed much better than expected. Over the past three weeks, fed cattle prices have rallied $4 per hundredweight. Light trade developed last week with the bulk of sales reported at $260 per cwt. delivered, and cattle were being scheduled for the second half of September delivery.

In some cases, packers were looking for higher grading cattle and were willing to pay a couple dollars dressed premium on top of the negotiated price for cattle grading over 75 percent AAA.

For the week ending Aug. 21, western Canadian fed slaughter totalled slightly more than 49,000 head, the second largest slaughter seen this year. On top of big slaughter volumes, Canadian fed cattle exports to the U.S. have also picked up.

Based on USDA Canadian fed cattle import data, over the past three weeks U.S. imports of Canadian fed cattle averaged 4,403 head per week compared to 3,767 head per week last year.

Active trade developed in Ontario with dressed sales reported at mostly $264 per cwt., $6 per cwt. higher than the previous week.

Over the past month, eastern Canadian fed slaughter has averaged 11,053 head per week compared to 9,888 head per week last year.

Last week Singapore became the first country to remove remaining restrictions following Canada’s BSE status change. Canada can now export beef and offal from cattle older than 30 months of age to Singapore. However, Singapore is a relatively small market for Canada.

In the United States last week, dressed sales in Nebraska and Iowa ranged from US$200-$208 per cwt., $2-$3 per cwt. higher than the previous week. Live sales in Nebraska were reported from $125-$129 per cwt., steady to a little stronger than the previous week. Sales in Texas and Kansas ranged from $121-$123 per cwt.

Slaughter volumes were well below early week estimates. Maintenance and ongoing labour issues continue to affect slaughter volumes. Dairy cow slaughter volumes totalled 60,140 head, the largest since April.

Cow prices moribund

A moderate non-fed offering was reported at auctions last week, and prices eased modestly lower. Alberta D2 cows averaged generally steady with the previous week at $76.44 per cwt. while D3 prices slipped almost $2 per cwt. lower to average $66.33.

D2 cow values have softened $26.69 per cwt. over the past 10 weeks from the mid-June annual high and are $16.53 per cwt. lower than last week’s five-year average.

Ontario D2 cows were reported at a $11.32 per cwt. premium to Alberta, and U.S. utility cows last week saw a significant $15 per cwt. premium to Alberta.

Dressed cow bids continued steady with the previous week around $150-$155 per cwt. delivered. Butcher bull prices remain range bound, averaging $106.85 per cwt.

Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending Aug. 21 was 17 percent lower than the previous week at 6, 123 head and year-to-date volumes were 13 percent larger, totalling 225,213 head.

Feeders steady to stronger

Good demand continued last week on a seasonally moderate feeder offering, and the market tone was fully steady to stronger. Light calves less than 600 pounds traded unevenly steady last week, while larger calves and feeders heavier than 600 lb. saw strong demand and prices rallied $3-$4 per cwt. higher.

Deferred October calf delivery is generally steady with the spot market, but a modest premium was observed for light calves lighter than 600 lb. Lofty feeder prices in Ontario continued to fuel strong eastern buying interest across the Prairies last week.

Total weekly sales volumes were 15 percent smaller than the previous week at 35,498 head but were significantly 70 percent larger than the same week last year. Year-to-date auction volumes are 34 percent larger than a year ago at 811,170 head. Feeder exports to the U.S. for the week ending Aug. 14 realigned lower following a surge during the first week of August but were 145 percent larger than a year ago. Year-to-date feeder exports are down 19 percent from a year ago to 63,770 head.

U.S. cut-outs rise

In U.S. beef trade, cut-out values closed the week modestly higher. Choice averaged US$347.27 and Select averaged $319.59. Total U.S. slaughter was almost two percent lower than the previous week at 651,000 head.

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