Alberta direct cattle sales saw weighted average prices ease modestly lower last week. The majority of trade was reported dressed at $250/cwt delivered and delivery dates were scheduled for the first week of April. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending March 13th was 1% smaller than the previous week and YTD were 15% larger than year ago at 405,979 head. Western Canadian steer carcass weights dipped 3 lbs lower than the previous week to average 905 lbs. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the US for the first week of March were lower than the previous week at 9,472 head and YTD totaled 91,096 head.
Over the past four weeks, calf and feeder prices have dropped around $5/cwt. On average, heifers are trading $8.85/cwt higher than last year while steer prices are $4.87/cwt above last year. Based on forward delivery sales last week, 900 lb+ heifers in AB for Sept/Oct delivery traded from $172-177/cwt. From their lows in January the market is already pricing in roughly a 13-16% increase into the fall market. Canadian feeder cattle exports to the US remain historically low and Canada is well on track to be a net importer of US feeders once again this year.
For the week ending March 13th Western Canadian cow slaughter totaled just over 8,300 head, the second largest slaughter volume seen this year. Cows trading through the sale ring were $1-2/cwt higher while dressed bids/sales were as much as $5/cwt stronger last week. On a cash-to-cash basis, Alberta cows are trading at a $10/cwt premium against the US utility cow market. Alberta cow prices hit a new annual high last week.
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