Alberta fed cattle prices set a new annual high last week, seeing the strongest weighted average prices since May 2017. Steer trade volumes were moderate, but heifer volumes were too slight to fully establish a weekly price trend. Most trade was reported steady to $4/cwt higher than the previous week dressed in a tight $292-294/cwt delivered trading range. Weighted average steer prices firmed $1.50/cwt higher than the previous week to $174.59/cwt. Kill schedules for cattle traded were reported for the weeks of July 18th and 25th. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending June 11th realigned seasonally larger than the previous week to 46,731 head. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the U.S. for the week ending June 4th were 4% larger than the previous week at 8,268 head and YTD export volume were up 17%.
Despite seasonally light volumes last week, the feeder market tone was steady to higher. Heifers continue to make up a large percentage of the feeder offering, while steer volumes have been light. Trading $1-3/cwt higher, 7-900 lbs steers established new annual highs. U.S. and Eastern Canadian buying demand continue to be noted on the Western Canadian calf/feeder market. So far in June the 850 lb feeder, cash to futures basis has averaged -$23.88/cwt, the weakest since 2014. YTD imports of U.S. feeders cattle are down 44% compared to last year. For the first four months of this year Canada was a net feeder exporter by 16,811 head.
Alberta cow prices are trading $2/cwt shy of their highs back in early May, while Ontario cow prices have been setting new annual highs. Averaging over $117/cwt, Ontario cow prices are at the highest point since August 2015. With recent rains across much of the prairies, marketing pressure has moderated. After trading at a premium to the U.S. utility cow market, Alberta prices have moved back to a discount. Over the past four weeks, Western Canadian cow slaughter is 8% lower than last year, while Eastern Canadian cow slaughter is up 12%.
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