Klassen: Feeder market holds value


By Jerry Klassen, Manitoba Co-operator

March 12, 2019


Western Canadian feeder cattle prices were relatively unchanged compared to seven days earlier. Buying interest for yearlings was somewhat stronger while calves in the eastern Prairie regions were softer.


Moderate temperatures are in the seven-day forecast for most of Western Canada, so the risk discount due to adverse weather has evaporated. Barley jumped an additional $4-$6 per tonne last week in southern Alberta and cost per pound gains are coming in higher than anticipated. Feedlot operators are extremely cautious and the market is in a very precarious situation.


In the U.S., fed cattle supplies for March and April are rather tight but fundamentals for the third quarter look quite burdensome. Live cattle futures are deceptive because the strength in the nearby April live cattle futures has pulled up the August contract. At the same time, packers are hesitant to contract for July and August delivery.


Medium- to larger-frame Simmental mixed steers with medium flesh levels weighing just over 900 lbs. traded for $169 in central Alberta; Angus mixed heifers with lighter flesh levels weighing 925 lbs. were valued at $145 in the same region. In central Saskatchewan, larger-frame lower-flesh mixed steers weighing 855 lbs. were quoted at $175. Backgrounding operators are in the process of liquidating fall-place calves and yearlings coming on the market were very good quality.


Once again, there was no shortage of demand in the lighter weight categories...


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