Moderate volume Alberta cash trade developed the week before Christmas with the bulk of sales reported fully steady with the previous week from $276-278/cwt delivered. Weighted average steer prices closed the week at $165.53/cwt and cattle were scheduled three to five weeks out. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending December 18th was 7% lower than the previous week at 38,409 head. YTD Western Canadian fed slaughter was 8% larger than year ago totaling 2,162,272 head. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the US for the week ending December 11th realigned comparable with year ago at 12,646 head, the second largest weekly slaughter export volume seen this year.
Feeder cattle traded mixed on a light offering but the general feel to the market was stronger as the year came to an end. December was another light auction month. Over the four weeks before Christmas, Alberta volumes were 50,000 head below last year. Alberta 550 lb calves traded steady to $3/cwt higher and prices were at the highest point since October. On average, calf prices in December were at a $17.50/cwt discount against the U.S. market compared to a $10.25/cwt premium last year. Canadian feeder cattle exports totaled over 6,000 head, the largest weekly export volume seen this year. Price wise, big feeders have been the most impressive as of late. On the heifer market there is virtually no price difference between a 750, 850 and 950 lb heifers.
During the two weeks before Christmas D2 cow prices averaged in the mid $70s/cwt, the highest level since early October. Alberta cow prices are at an $8/cwt discount to the U.S. market while Ontario is at a $17/cwt discount. U.S. trim prices have remained firm over the past couple of months holding in the mid $270s/cwt while beef cutout values are trading at the lowest point in nine months. Value wise, end cuts such as rounds and chuck could be going to the grinder. Heading into 2022 non-fed supplies are expected to be very manageable.
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