The Western Producer (Canada)
June 6, 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.
Fed cattle fall
Fed prices continue to slip for the week ending May 31.
Limited live trade averaged $144 per hundredweight. The majority of Alberta sales were dressed from $245-$246 per cwt. delivered, while Ontario was $250-$257 per cwt.
Western Canadian fed cattle slaughter for the four day week ending May 25 eased eight percent lower than the previous week to 35,927 head, but year to date it is up seven percent at 755,235 head.
Packers have secured a significant volume of fed inventory for June, and a cushion is building into the first half of July.
Western Canadian steer carcass weights for the same week were two pounds lower to 839 lb. but were 33 lb. heavier than a year ago. The average so far this year is 913 lb. Year to date, nearly 66 percent of graded carcasses made AAA, and the majority fell into the yield grade 2 and 3 categories.
Canadian fed cattle-slaughter cow exports to the United States for the week ending May 18 were somewhat larger than the previous week at 7,557 head. So far this year, more than 188,750 have been exported.
Feedlots are expected to remain willing sellers as market-ready supplies continue to grow. The cash market lacks leverage, and prices next week are expected to struggle.
Cattle futures are under pressure so the feeder and calf market is softening slightly. From their lows in February, steers in the 800-900 lb. category have strengthened by $6 per cwt. Alberta steers in that range averaged $181.13 per cwt., British Columbia $173.63 per cwt., Saskatchewan $178 per cwt. and Ontario $176.21 per cwt.
The heifer market has not been able to keep pace with the steers trading $2 per cwt. above their lows. The heifer market has been disappointing because some replacement calibre heifers have been offered on the feeder market due to lack of pasture and feed.
The rising cost of gain is also affecting the heifer market. Late in the week, barley sales were reported from $275-$279 per tonne delivered into southern Alberta, which is a new annual high. Feeder prices are expected to trend higher into the summer. The 850 lb. feeders could peak around $200-$203 per cwt., similar to the past two years.
A lack of moisture is a major concern across the West. Some grass cattle may not get turned out and will go on feed instead.
To date, 116,105 feeders have been shipped to the U.S., a three percent change over last year.
More cows culled ...
Cut-out values variable ...