Klassen: Feeder cattle market experiences mixed tone


By Jerry Klassen, GFM Network News, Columnist

via Canadian Cattlemen - June 29, 2020


Compared to last week, western Canadian feeder cattle sold $2 higher to as much as $4 lower. Larger groups of uniform cattle once again carried a premium but the bulk of feeders were small packages of various quality. Buyers were more aggressive on the 700- to 850-lb. weight categories as they target the fed cattle market for late 2020 or the first quarter of 2021. Many feedlot operators believe the COVID-related backlog of fed cattle should be cleaned up by this time and the demand should resume some type of normalcy.


Frontline comments from east-central Alberta had 725-lb. medium- to larger-frame tan steers with lower flesh levels dropping the gavel at $205 while similar quality 710-lb. heifers sold for $184. In the Lethbridge area, medium-frame greener red steers weighing 830 lbs. were quoted at $187; similar-quality 813-lb. heifers brought back $175. South of Edmonton, black mixed medium- to larger-frame thinner steers averaging just over 900 lbs. were valued at $178.


Pastures are in excellent shape across the Prairies but we’re heading into the period when conditions deteriorate in the Palliser Triangle. Calf prices are being held up by the strong yearling market and the anticipation of burdensome feed grain prices this fall. The available yearling supply seems to be tighter each year so feedlot operators are extending ownership in the lighter weight categories. In southern Alberta, red mixed steers averaging just under 600 lbs. were reported at $227 and a smaller group of black heifers weighing 675 lbs. were quoted at $187. In central Saskatchewan, larger-frame tan steers weighing 515 lbs. were quoted at $232; in central Alberta, 530-lb. Angus blended steers were quoted at $228.


Feedlot margins are struggling...