The Western Producer (Canada)
April 11, 2019
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.
Alberta fed cattle traded steady for the week of April 1, and dressed sales were equal to the top end of last week’s trade at $270 per hundredweight delivered. Cattle were booked into the week of April 22, and most cattle were bought locally because of limited American interest.
The weighted average Alberta fed steer price ticked slightly higher than last week to $160.82 per cwt. and set an annual high price, surpassing the previous high from January. Fed steer prices this week are $5 per cwt. higher than a year ago.
Western Canadian steer carcass weights remain near 900 pounds, about 20 lb. larger than a year ago.
The cash to futures basis strengthened over a dollar this week to -$7.36 per cwt., mainly supported by the stronger basis trades earlier in the week.
Market-ready numbers will continue to be modest in between yearling and calf supplies this month and should be supportive to the market. Spring demand is a few weeks away, and the upside to the fed market may be limited. U.S. packers could again come into play on the fed market at any time, given the current basis levels.
Heavy feeders trading lower
Feeder prices traded steady to lower on heavier cattle, but calves were hitting annual highs.
Averaging more than $230 per cwt. this week, 550 lb. steer prices traded at the highest point since March 2018. Calf prices have moved higher, but Alberta calf prices are still at a $14.50 per cwt. discount against the U.S. market on a cash to cash basis.
Western Canadian feedlot demand for grass weight cattle has been strong with some top sorted groups of grass cattle from Saskatchewan and Manitoba going to Alberta for finishing.
Alberta 850 lb. cash to futures basis levels weakened, going from -$12.68 to -$17.27, the weakest level since June 2018.
Heifer volumes picked up this week, and in some instances they were 60-80 percent of total volumes at certain auction facilities. However, moving into April, demand for seedstock heifers tends to improve. Some replacement heifer sales have been highlighted over the past couple of weeks with prices ranging from $1,300-$1,700 per head, about $50-$100 better than last year.
Feeder exports to the U.S. have picked up with about 10,000 western calves going south last week. In total, about 57,890 head have been exported.
Feeder cow interest ...
Beef trade ...