A large mix of fed calves and yearlings were on offer last week and weighted average steer priced rallied over $2/cwt higher than the previous week. The bulk of weekly trade was reported $3-5/cwt higher than the previous week dressed in a tight $280-282/cwt delivered trade range. Light live trade was reported at $164.50/cwt. Kill schedules are generally reported for the second half of May. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending April 16th was down 31% smaller than the previous week totaling 32,429 head, thanks to the Good Friday holiday. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the U.S. for the week ending April 9th surged 16% larger than the previous week to 11,485 head and YTD total 150,346 head.
Calf and light weight stocker prices continue to trade near annual price highs. The soft spot on the market continues to be heavier feeders over 900 lb, as new annual price lows were established last week. Heifers trading via electronics/in-house video sales are going to the feedlot, with no replacements kept back. Many palpated, replacements quality heifers are trading from $1375-1650/head, similar with prices seen over the past couple of years. The forward delivery market was lightly tested and yearling prices for late summer delivery are roughly $5 higher compared to 3-4 weeks ago. AB/SK 900 lb+ steers for September delivery traded from $207-217/cwt, with a weighted average price of $210.61/cwt based at 985 lb.
Over the past month Alberta D2 cows have rallied $8/cwt and prices are at the highest point since 2017. For the second half of April, this is the third highest price on record. On a dressed basis, there is about $70-75/cwt difference between cow and fed cattle rail prices. Over the past four weeks, western Canadian cow slaughter has average 6,524 head/week compared to the five-year average of 6,963 head/week. Alberta cow prices have moved to a premium against the Ontario market, the first time since early January.
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