Klassen: Demand for feeder cattle eases


By Jerry Klassen, GFM Network News, Columnist

Grainews (Canada) - October 11, 2021


Compared to last week, western Canadian yearling prices were down $3-$5; calves traded $2-$6 below week-ago levels.


The market has come under pressure for three main reasons. Cattle on feed inventories in Alberta and Saskatchewan are 36 per cent above the five-year average. Many feedlots are comfortable with ownership levels. The drought caused about 150,000 head of feeder cattle to be placed sooner than normal. Secondly, the barley market is firm across the Prairies as the export program picks up pace. Finally, the feeder market has to adjust to expected fed cattle prices in the spring timeframe. The risk tolerance level is very low at this time of year.


Yearling supplies are drying up and calves have come into focus. Yearling quality was quite fleshy this week, contributing to the softer tone. In regards to calves, premiums were noted on weaned packages with health records. Finishing feedlots tended to focus on local cattle, which caused a sluggish tone in parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Ontario demand was evident but not sufficient to support the overall market. U.S. buyers were shopping for mid-weight strings but there was limited interest. The under-500-lb. category was the only group with prices unchanged from last week.


In central Alberta, black Angus-based steers...