Klassen: Fed cattle market underpins feeder cattle prices


By Jerry Klassen, Columnist, Canadian Cattlemen

January 7, 2020


Alberta packers were buying fed cattle on a dressed basis at an average price of $275 delivered, which equates to $165 on a live basis. Fed cattle prices are now at 52-week highs and feeding margins are in the range of $50 to $70 per head. Strength in the cash fed cattle market was supportive for the feeder complex; however, weakness in the deferred live cattle futures capped buying enthusiasm in the mid-weight categories.


Western Canadian feeder cattle markets were lightly tested last week due to the holiday season. Prices for replacement cattle were relatively unchanged from week-ago levels. Heavier yearlings gained $2-$3 with feedlots aggressively shopping for shorter-keep cattle. Feeders that can be ready by late April or early May continue to trade at a premium relative to the longer-term production animals. For example, in central Alberta, mixed steers weighing 910 lbs. were valued at $191 while red mixed steers averaging 800 lbs. were quoted at $190; Simmental-based steers weighing 730 lbs. were only quoted at $192 in the same region which isnít much of a carrying charge for the lighter-weight animal...


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