Klassen: Feeder market digests rising COVID-19 cases


By Jerry Klassen, GFM Network News

via Canadian Cattlemen - October 12, 2020


Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling prices were relatively unchanged while calves traded steady to $2 lower on average. The grain harvest is in its final stages and buying interest was noted from the farmer/backgrounding operator. The buying frenzy over yearlings has eased and finishing feedlots were active on all weight categories.


Feather-light calves under 500 lbs. were extremely strong in Alberta but didn’t garner attention in other regions of the Prairies. Buyers were attracted to weaned or semi-weaned calves on some type of health program, but there were minimal premiums. Alberta feedlots focused on local cattle, causing Manitoba and Saskatchewan markets to trade at a slight discount. The calf market appeared to be in a price discovery mode and many buyers had a “wait and see” attitude.


In central Alberta, mixed medium- to larger-frame lower-flesh steers weighing 950 lbs. were valued $185 while similar quality mixed heifers weighing 960 lbs. were actively trading around $170. In southern Alberta, medium- to larger-frame Angus-based steers with lower flesh averaging 850 lbs. were quoted at $192; larger-frame Charolais heifers with minimal flesh levels averaging 862 lbs. were valued at $185 in the same region. Fleshier yearlings appeared to be discounted $3 to as much as $8 in some cases across the major feeding regions.


In southern Saskatchewan, semi-weaned Charolais-based calves averaging 620 lbs. were quoted at $211 and similar-quality heifers were valued at $183. In central Alberta, age-verified, weaned, vaccinated Simmental-based steers averaging 665 lbs. dropped the gavel at $206 while similar-quality unweaned bawlers averaging 550 lbs. were quoted at $207. In Manitoba, black steers averaging 490 lbs. were quoted at $229 while a small group of mixed heifers averaging 400 lbs. were reported at $190.


Feeder cattle futures were under pressure and there is no signal this rally in the feed grains is over. At the same time, the Canadian dollar ratcheted higher...