Western Canadian-fed prices have been steady for the past seven weeks, while Ontario and U.S. prices continue to advance. December is traditionally a strong month for the fed cattle market. However, enthusiasm has been muted by smaller fed slaughter volumes during the second half of this year and historically long pick-up times. Last week, dressed bids and sales were reported from $304-305/cwt delivered; cattle were being scheduled for mid-January delivery. Light volumes of Alberta-fed cattle traded to the U.S. at USD$235/cwt delivered, depending on freight and dressing percentage; sales were working back to the mid $180s/cwt and were at premium over local deals.
Alberta feeder prices eased modestly lower last week, as frigid temperatures across the prairies limited marketing and buyer interest. Calves from 4-700 lb traded mixed, with steer prices steady to $2.50/cwt lower and heifer prices trended steady to $1.35/cwt higher. Large feeders over 700 lb traded seasonally softer on reduced lot size and quality. Saskatchewan calf prices were generally comparable with Alberta last week, but Manitoba calves, in close proximity to the Ontario market, once again commanded a premium. YTD auction volumes are down 3% from the same week last year totaling 1,578,955 head, but were 4% larger than the five-year average. Canadian feeder exports to the U.S. for the week ending November 19th were 49% larger than the previous week at 3,208 head and YTD were 54% larger than year ago, totaling 185,800 head.
Ample slaughter cow marketings were reported at auction again last week and prices eased lower. D2 cow prices slipped $3.40/cwt lower than the previous week to average $83.20/cwt and were at a $13+/cwt discount to Ontario this week and U.S. Utility cow the previous week. Dress cow bids slipped $5/cwt lower than the previous week to around $160-165/cwt delivered. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending November 26th was down 4% from the previous week and for the second week in a row were above 9,000 head. Butcher bull prices trended sideways averaging $118.64/cwt.
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