Thankfully the CP Rail lockout was short lived last week and employees were back to work by mid-day Tuesday. The fed market did see disruption with limited orders placed and an overall lack of buying interest. Total sale volumes were too slight to fully establish a weekly price trend, but the underlying tone was generally steady. A handful of dressed trade did develop in Alberta and Saskatchewan at $275/cwt delivered and thin live trade at $161.50/cwt was comparable. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending March 19th was steady with the previous week at 42,755 head and YTD slaughter volumes were up 3%. Canadian steer carcass weights were 2 lbs heavier than the previous week and 3 lbs smaller than the same week last year. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the US for the week ending March 12th were steady with the previous week at 12,220 head and YTD are up 6%.
Lackluster interest and the uncertainty of available grain imports pressured the feeder market lower in the west. Light calves from 3 400 lbs were $7/cwt lower and mid-weight calves traded steady to slightly lower. Prices strengthened moving east across the prairies. In Saskatchewan, light-weight calves traded between $4-6/cwt higher than the previous week. Similar to Alberta, mid-weight prices in Saskatchewan were steady to slightly lower. Prices for all weights were down in Manitoba. Auction volumes in Western Canada were down 6,000 head at 46,191 head, and were down 4% from the same week last year. For the week ending March 12th, Canadian feeder cattle exports to the US totaled 5,753 and year to date are up 393% at 60,568 head.
D2 cow prices have rallied higher for a seventh week to average $96.39/cwt and were 10% higher than the five-year historic average. Dressed cow bids rallied $3/cwt higher than the previous week with reports from $183-188/cwt delivered. Butcher bull prices stalled for the first time this year trading modestly lower, but did average a respectable $117.90/cwt.
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