Dressed sales started out last week at $250/cwt delivered and light live steer trade was comparable at $150/cwt. Bids firmed to $253/cwt by Thursday to encourage moderate volume follow up trade. Light heifer trade was reported comparable with steers, but sale volumes were too slight to establish a weekly trend. With a Friday holiday the previous week, Western Canadian fed slaughter was significantly lower at 30,991 head and YTD totaled 7% larger than year ago. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the US for the week ending March 27th continued sideways for a fourth week at 9,504 head.
The calf and feeder markets were somewhat mixed last week, but heavier feeder cattle had a slightly stronger tone. Auction volumes were quite light and it appears many of the calves that were carried into this spring have likely been marketed. All calf and feeder prices are above a year ago, but 550 lb Alberta steer prices were below 2019 while heavier feeders were $2-3/cwt higher than the same week in 2019. As spring approaches, grass buyers have been more active on some mid-weight feeders that can go to grass and that has been market supportive, while light calf prices are highly variable depending on quality and limited availability.
A moderate offering of non-fed cattle were at auction last week, and prices were stronger for cull cows and bulls. D2 cow prices rebounded $2.50/cwt higher to be over $88/cwt for the first time this year. Alberta bulls were also up about $2/cwt and were at a new annual high. It is interesting to note that cow and bull prices are below last year but are above the same time in 2019. D2 cow prices are $7/cwt below the five-year average for the same week. The storm the previous Monday and the holiday Friday resulted in a significantly reduced cow kill. The western cow kill was 4,299 head, almost half of the same week a year ago and the smallest weekly kill since last August.
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