Trading $0.88/cwt higher last week, weighted average steer prices set new annual highs and basis levels still remain historically strong. Competition on the cash market was supportive with both major packers getting cattle bought. Dressed sales were reported from $255-256/cwt delivered and cattle were scheduled for 2-3 week delivery. Since the beginning of the year Alberta fed prices have been trading at a premium to the US market. Western Canadian steer carcass weights declined 23 lbs from the previous week to average 913 lbs. With record breaking low temperatures last week, cattle performance could ease, but generally the cold weather should not have a major impact on carcass weights.
Frigid temperatures prompted some markets to cancel sales last week and total auction offerings were limited. Calves over 500 lbs saw prices rally $1-7/cwt higher than the previous week and large feeders over 700 lbs strengthened $2-5/cwt higher. Heifers over 800 lbs traded at an $11/cwt premium to Ontario. The Canfax Cattle on Feed Report for February 1st reported the largest feeder placement increases were for steer calves less than 600 lbs and steers over 800 lbs. Auction volumes last week were 22% lower than the previous week and 38% below year ago. YTD auction volumes were 15% larger than the same week last year. Canadian feeder exports to the US for the week ending January 30th slipped 40% lower than the previous week and YTD were down 23%.
Alberta slaughter cows traded steady last week while butcher bulls rallied $1.82/cwt higher to an average of $101.57/cwt. Dressed cow bids tightened to around $150-155/cwt delivered. Alberta slaughter cows traded comparable with Ontario last week, as the Ontario market strengthened. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending February 6th was down 9% from the previous week at 7,020 head and YTD was 10% lower totaling 38,421 head.
For over 50 years, Canfax has provided expert analysis of markets and trends in the ever changing North American beef industry. In this new millennium, cattlemen, feedlot managers, and agri-business professionals will continue to rely on up-to-the-minute information as an essential tool for maximizing profit in today’s beef sector. Whether your operation needs to plan for three hours or three years into the future, Canfax delivers timely, accurate information for 21st Century cattle industry professionals.
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