Klassen: Feeder market starts year with cautious tone


By Jerry Klassen, GFM Network News

via Canadian Cattlemen - January 8, 2019


Western Canadian feeder cattle prices were relatively unchanged to slightly softer compared to mid-December. The market was lightly tested, with direct off farm to feedlot trade, but auction market activity was rather quiet.


Winter conditions in southern Alberta caused buyers to be on the defensive, with lighter calves reflecting small discounts; however, vaccinated feeders on stable diets experienced limited slippage.


This was the first major bout of adverse weather and many feedlots were running a skeleton crew. Instead of adding to the stress of bedding and pen checking, feedlot managers held off on purchases to ease the processing burden. Strength in the Canadian dollar also set a negative tone and overshadowed all weight categories. Although the Nebraska market was US$2-$4 higher, U.S. buyers were not actively shopping in Western Canada last week. All these factors contributed to the weaker market sentiment.


Steers and heifers weighing 850 lbs. were hard to define, but feedlot buying ideas were $3-$5 below month-ago averages. In central and southern Alberta, medium- to larger-frame mixed steers averaging 700 lbs. were quoted in the range of $190-$196. In southern Alberta, steers averaging 600 lbs. were valued in the range of $205 to as high as $210; heifers weighing 600 lbs. were valued from $180 to $185 in the same region. There were not many cattle on offer but these values are indications where feedlots would show interest...