Klassen: Yearling prices remain firm


By Jerry Klassen, Columnist, Canadian Cattlemen

September 30, 2019


Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling markets were relatively unchanged with the exception of southern Alberta where 800-plus-lb. feeders traded $5 to as much as $8 higher.


Strength in deferred live cattle futures and weakness in barley prices were the main factors driving demand in the Lethbridge area. The U.S. Department of Agricultureís bullish Cattle on Feed report also contributed to the stronger tone. This buying interest spilled over into other regions, although major operations focused on local cattle. Recent rains have caused respiratory problems when transporting feeders longer distances, so there was a definite premium in the major feeding regions of Alberta. A defensive tone was noted if feedlot operators didnít know the diets over the past month and minor discounts were evident on fleshier cattle, especially on feeders over 1,000 lbs. Feeding margins have been struggling in red ink over the summer. Order buyers were busy but there were strict limits to follow. If orders werenít filled this week, feedlot operators were content to wait. No one wanted to overextend themselves as every cattle feeder has a lower risk tolerance this year.


In the Lethbridge area, larger-frame Charolais blended steers weighing just over 900 lbs. were valued at $194 landed in the feedlot; the Perlich Bros. auction market report had red white face steers weighing 849 lbs. selling for $208. In central Alberta, larger-frame lower-flesh mixed heifers averaging 855 lbs. were quoted at $184. Near Saskatoon, medium-frame thin black steers weighing just over 815 lbs. were reported at $195.


There will be more farmer-cattle producers backgrounding calves this fall due to the burdensome feed grain situation. Calves continue to trade $12-$15 below...