Canfax report


The Western Producer (Canada)†

October 3, 2019


This cattle market information is selected from the weekly report from Canfax, a division of the Canadian Cattlemenís Association. More market information, analysis and statistics are available by becoming a Canfax subscriber by calling 403-275-5110 or at


Fed market falls


September has been disappointing for the fed market with prices $9 per hundredweight lower than last year and $7.25 per cwt. lower than the five-year average.


In the western Canadian cash market this week, all three packers bought cattle, and most of the dressed sales were reported at $235 per cwt. delivered. Cattle that were bought this week would be lifted in three or four weeks.


Alberta live steers traded at $137.25 and $230-$235 per cwt. on the rail. Ontario live steers ranged from $115-$142.95, and dressed were $232-$234 per cwt.


Some discounts were reported on carcasses weighing more than 1,050 pounds. Average steer carcass weights were 919 lb., and heifers were 845 lb., similar to last year at this time.


For the week ending Sept. 21, western Canadian fed slaughter totalled 41,367 head, five percent less than last year. This is the first time in seven weeks that fed slaughter has been below a year ago.


About 60 percent graded AAA, and nearly 35 percent were AA, while the rest fell into the Prime and A grade categories.


Last week a smaller plant in Ontario had its operating licence suspended and for the time being is not slaughtering any cattle. With this plant temporarily offline, they were not active on the cash market. Sales in Ontario were reported from $232-$233 per cwt. delivered. Two weeks ago, Ontario dressed sales were at a premium to the Alberta market but this week were at a slight discount. In the short term, other packers in the East may increase operating hours to make up for the short fall. This situation will have to be monitored, but itís unlikely fed cattle from the East will be shipped west for slaughter.


Feeder prices firmer


Feeder prices firmed higher this week on a seasonally moderate offering. Feeder steers rallied $3 per cwt. higher than the previous week, and heifers traded modestly at a dollar higher.


Steer calves from 500-700 lb. saw good eastern buyer interest, and prices surged $3.50-$4.50 per cwt. higher, while similar weight heifers traded fully steady.


Alberta steers in that category averaged $213.31, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba were similar at around $215 per cwt.


Feeder steers greater than 700 lb. saw prices firm $1-$1.50 per cwt. higher than the previous week. Heifers from 700-800 lb. traded mostly steady, while large heifers over 800 lb. saw the steer/heifer spread realigned with prices trending $2-$3.50 per cwt. higher.


Alberta steers were $203.19 per cwt., while Saskatchewan was a dollar lower. Ontario steers weighing 700-800 lb. averaged $188.27 per cwt.


Auction volumes through September have closely tracked a year ago and the five-year average. If they continue to track the seasonal trend, a modest auction offering is anticipated next week before volumes build larger and peak around the first week of November. Calf prices are anticipated fully steady to stronger next week on good seasonal demand. Ample new crop feedgrain supplies and reduced prices have aligned large feeder margins close to break even. Prices for feeders over 800 lb. next week are anticipated fully steady.


Cows prices uneven ...


Beef trade ...