Alberta direct cattle sales were limited by a smaller cash offering last week as many feedlots revert out of cash and back to the formula grid market. It should be noted that total weekly marketings last week were the smallest so far this year. Light steer trade was marked at $250/cwt delivered, generally steady with the previous week. Heifer sales were reported steady to $5/cwt lower than the previous week from $245-250/cwt delivered. The majority of cattle that traded were scheduled for the week of April 19th delivery. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending March 20th firmed 3% larger than the previous week at 41,734 head. Western Canadian steer carcass weights have slipped 6 lbs lower over the previous two weeks to average 902 lbs, and were modestly 3 lbs larger than year ago.
The feeder cattle market last week was generally flat while calves had a slightly softer tone. Calves under 600 pounds were $2-5/cwt lower than the previous week. Feeders over 600 pounds were on either side of steady money with the week prior. There was an uptick in auction volumes compared to the previous week, and year to date Alberta auction volumes have been considerably higher than a year ago. Calf and feeder prices are well above a year ago, as the impacts of COVID19 uncertainty really hit the markets last March.
Non-fed supplies through auction continue to be moderate, and they continue to be met with good demand. The market started the week with a slightly stronger tone but ended the week mostly steady. Western Canadian cow slaughter was down 22% from the previous week, and 25% below a year ago. Year to date Western Canadian cow slaughter is 17% below a year ago. Good demand and moderate non-fed supplies should be supportive to the cull cow market moving forward
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