Alberta direct cattle sales saw light to moderate cash trade last week with weighted average steer prices easing $1.73/cwt lower than the previous week. Dressed prices were steady to $5/cwt lower than the previous week from $252-253/cwt delivered. Light live trade was reported comparable with rail sales. Recent western Canadian fed slaughter totaled 52,919 head and YTD volume totaled 17% larger than a year ago at 1,172,990 head. Canadian steer carcass weights were 7 lbs lower than the previous week and 8 lbs heavier than year ago at 883 lbs. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the US for the week ending July 10th rebounded 53% larger than the previous week to 5,947 head.
Strengthening $1-2/cwt last week, 8-900 lb steers/heifers established new annual price highs. One might expect to see a little bit of a premium for October delivery yearlings but that has not been the case as there is very little price difference between Aug/Sept/Oct delivery prices. For the first half of July, 550 lb steer calves are averaging a $10.25/cwt premium against the US market compared to $28.50/cwt in June. The forward calf market was lightly tested, AB/SK steer calves weighing from 5-600 lbs for fall delivery traded from $203-226/cwt with a weighted average price of $218.41/cwt based at 574 lbs, $10+/cwt lower compared to a couple weeks ago.
Dry conditions continue to bring cows to market, and supply is outpacing demand. Over the past six weeks butcher cow prices have dropped $17/cwt. Over that same time frame Alberta cow prices have moved from a $14-18/cwt premium against the US market to a discount this week. Western Canadian cow slaughter for the week ending July 17th totaled just over 7,000 head; for the middle of July this is the largest slaughter since 2009.
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