Western Canadian fed prices continue to edge higher, setting new annual price highs. Even though sale volumes were light, competition on the cash market was decent with all three Western Canadian packers bidding on cattle. Most dressed sales were reported at $300/cwt delivered and were scheduled for mid-September delivery. Recent slaughter volumes have been somewhat disappointing, and this is the sixth consecutive week that Western Canadian fed slaughter has been below year ago. Western Canadian steer carcass weights increased 4 lb to average 912 lb; for the first half of August carcass weights are record large.
Western Canadian auction volumes seasonally continue to trend larger, but strong demand continues to outpace supplies. Prices for all types of feeders rallied higher with double digit gains reported for calves less than 600 lb. Steer calves from 5-600 lb saw the strongest average prices since March 2016 and the steer/heifer price spread was the second widest on record. Premiums continued for deferred fall delivery calves for September to November. Large feeders over 700 lb to place against the first quarter fed market saw good demand and significantly stronger prices. Yearlings over 900 lb traded generally steady on limited offerings and quality. Alberta auction volumes were 26% larger than the previous week at 18,472 head and were 56% smaller than the same week last year.
Non-fed cattle traded steady to stronger last week with D2 slaughter cows averaging $113.30/cwt and D3’s at $99.63/cwt. Dressed cow bids were fully steady with the previous week ranging from $216-221/cwt delivered. Butcher bull prices firmed higher to average $131.33/cwt. It should be noted, butcher bulls have traded above $130/cwt for an eighth straight week. YTD slaughter bull exports were 8% larger totaling 22,076 head.
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