Alberta dressed sales last week were reported from $304-305/cwt delivered. Cattle that traded were being scheduled for the second half of January’s delivery. Light volumes of Alberta cattle traded to the U.S. at USD $236/cwt delivered. Sales to the U.S. were at a $5-6/cwt live premium over local deals. For the week ending December 11th, U.S. imports of Canadian-fed cattle totaled more than 8,500 head, the largest volume seen this year. Even though Western Canadian steer carcass weights have dropped from highs in October, weights remain record large for December. If cold temperatures persist throughout January, carcass weights could moderate at a rather fast pace, moving off record levels.
A break in the weather flushed a large offering of calves to auction, and prices rallied significantly higher on strong year-end buying interest. Light heifer calves from 3-500 lb surged $11-13/cwt higher than the previous week. Steer calves from 4-700 lb all traded at new annual highs last week, and larger steers from 6-800 lb saw prices rally $10.50-13/cwt higher. Alberta feeders generally traded at a premium to Ontario this week. Alberta auction volumes were modestly 8% larger than a year ago and YTD total 1,643,357 head. Canadian feeder exports to the U.S. for the week ending December 3rd were 32% lower than the same week last year. YTD feeder exports were 48% larger than year ago, totaling 192,094 head.
Non-fed prices rebounded higher on reduced offerings and continued good demand. Slaughter cow prices firmed $2.50/cwt higher than the previous week, with D2’s averaging $84.80/cwt. Dressed cow bids realigned aggressively higher to around $170-175/cwt delivered. Alberta D2 cows traded at a $7/cwt discount to Ontario last week were at a $16.50/cwt discount to U.S. utility cows the week prior. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending December 10th was up 2% from the previous week at a whopping 10,512 head. Butcher bull prices firmed more than $1/cwt higher to average $117.06/cwt.
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