Alberta fed steers climbed over $4/cwt last week and closed at $350.70/cwt dressed in a wide $349-355.50/cwt range FOB the lot. Sale volumes were light with only 3,833 head trading. Repeatability on heifer trade was not fully established. Lift times are one to two weeks out, though some feedlots are opting for May delivery. YTD Western fed slaughter was 453,683 head, 2% below last year, but remains a considerable 13% higher than the five-year average. Weekly fed slaughter volumes have been at or below year-ago levels for the last five weeks, and in seven out of the eleven weeks this year.
Ontario fed steers shot up almost $6/cwt dressed, closing the week at $358.50/cwt FOB the lot. Heifer trade was very light, and a repeatable market trend was not established.
Strong prices continue to flush seasonally large offerings to auction, and feeder prices firmed higher. Pre-sort feeder sales saw robust buying interest on large quality lots. Calf prices continued to gain momentum with good demand for grass types and bunk replacements that will ultimately hit the third quarter 2023 and first quarter 2024 fed market. Steer calves from 5-600 lb eased $1.26/cwt lower than the previous week, but remain within striking distance of historic highs set back in May 2015 of $330.60/cwt. Large feeders over 700 lb continued to trend sideways on limited quality and supply. Alberta auction volumes were 14% larger than the previous week at 32,142 head. Canadian feeder exports to the U.S. for the week ending March 11 were 18% larger than the previous week at 2,147 head.
Non-fed prices continued to strengthen last week as supplies tightened. D2 slaughter cow prices firmed $2.27/cwt higher than the previous week to a new annual high averaging $134.36/cwt, and D3 prices traded fully steady. Alberta D2 prices saw a $12+/cwt premium to Manitoba and Ontario. Dressed cow bids rallied higher than the previous week to $260-268/cwt delivered.
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