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Photo Credit: Todd Korol
April 24, 2023 Current Markets & Forecasts

Canfax Weekly Article | Report for the week of April 24, 2023

With fed prices moving above $220/cwt, feedlot margins have gone from negative to positive, and lift times have tightened considerably. From a supply perspective, the market is currently in the process of working through what could be the tightest market-ready numbers that we could see all year. Yearling supplies are winding down, while fed calf numbers continue to be light. This week, dressed sales were reported at mostly $380/cwt delivered, $5-7/cwt higher than the previous week. For cattle sold on the cash market, it is estimated feedlot margins are anywhere from $150-250/head positive.

Feeder prices rallied sharply higher last week, with continued strong interest for grass-type calves and for 700+ lb bunk replacements to hit the fourth-quarter fed market. Steer calves from 5-700 lb and 6-700 lb heifers all established new historic highs. A light test of Saskatchewan steer calves for deferred September/October delivery saw a slight premium, while large AB/SK steers over 900 lb saw a significant $22.50/cwt premium to the spot price. Total auction volumes realigned 95% larger than the previous week, which included the Good Friday holiday, to 28,126 head. YTD auction volumes were up 3%, totaling 431,017 head. Canadian feeder exports to the U.S. for the week ending April 8 totaled 2,644 head and were 52% lower than year ago. YTD feeder exports continue significantly below year ago, down 61% at 33,910 head.

Non-fed prices rallied higher on reduced offerings, and D2 slaughter cows surged almost $9.50/cwt higher than the previous week to average $139.86/cwt. D3 cows saw a respectable $5.80/cwt week-over-week price improvement closing at $121.71/cwt. Average D2 cow/AB steer price spread continue to seasonally narrow at 61.5%. Butcher bull prices firmed modestly $3.34/cwt higher to average $155.79/cwt. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending April 15 was 23% larger than the previous week at 6,493 head, and YTD was up 13% to 122,092 head.

Bull:

  • Feedlots should continue to maintain leverage moving forward.
  • Carcass weights continue to ease seasonally smaller.
  • Improved feeding margins are in the black.

Bear:

  • Competing meats have better margins and features than beef at retail.
  • USDA’s April 1 cattle on feed report is being viewed as slightly bearish, with placements above expectations.
  • The fed basis remains seasonally weak.

About the Author

For over 50 years, Canfax has provided expert analysis of markets and trends in the ever-changing North American beef industry. In this new millennium, cattlemen, feedlot managers, and agri-business professionals will continue to rely on up-to-the-minute information as an essential tool for maximizing profit in today’s beef sector. Whether your operation needs to plan for three hours or three years into the future, Canfax delivers timely, accurate information for 21st Century cattle industry professionals. Those interested in becoming Canfax members can sign up on the website at www.canfax.ca.

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Cattle Report

Updated: 12/06/2024

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Livestock Price Insurance Index

Expiry Fed Feeder Calf
2-Sep-24 234 326 --
30-Sep-24 232 328 376
28-Oct-24 230 328 372
25-Nov-24 228 324 370
23-Dec-24 232 318 368
20-Jan-25 234 320 --
17-Feb-25 236 324 382
Last Updated on June 7, 2024

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