From their highs in late June, fed cattle prices have declined $12/cwt. The leverage shift from cattle feeder to packer is seasonally occurring, reflected in softer prices and weaker basis levels. That said, fed prices for July will average around $240/cwt, the second-highest monthly price on record. Dressed sales were reported at mostly $395/cwt delivered. Cattle that traded were being scheduled for the second half of August delivery. For the week ending July 22, Canadian fed slaughter totaled just more than 52,000 head, 11% lower than last year. Fed slaughter volumes have been below last year in 21 out of the past 23 weeks. Over that same time period, Canadian fed beef production is down 11% compared to last year.
Alberta feeder prices strengthened last week on a seasonally early offering of larger quality lots. Auction volumes varied across the Prairies relative to pasture/moisture conditions, and significantly more feeders were marketed in B.C., compared with the previous week. As a result, B.C. feeder prices moved significantly higher and traded generally comparable with Alberta. Saskatchewan and Manitoba sale volumes were very light last week, and most feeder price trends were not established. In the East, Ontario feeder trade was limited, and lackluster lot size and quality restricted price upside. Alberta weekly auction volumes were 158% larger than the previous week and were a whopping 609% larger than the same week last year. Although feeders coming in off grass early accounted for some of this week’s huge feeder offering, it must be noted that a significant portion of trade was electronic and scheduled for deferred August/September delivery.
D2 cows slipped $1.64/cwt lower than the previous week to average $152.21/cwt, and D3 prices were $1.27/cwt lower, averaging $137.64/cwt. Dressed cow bids trended mostly steady from $295-300/cwt delivered. Butcher bull prices dipped $2.39/cwt lower than the previous week, averaging $160.50/cwt. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending July 22 was 8% lower than the previous week at 6,526 head, and year-to-date was 7% larger, totaling 213,525 head. Increased slaughter cow offerings are anticipated moving forward.