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May 1, 2023 Current Markets & Forecasts
by Canfax

Canfax Weekly Article | Report for the week of May 1, 2023

The Canfax fed steer and heifer price closed the week at around $225/cwt, mostly steady with the previous week. Seasonally, yearling supplies are declining, while fed calf volumes remain light. Last week, dressed sales were reported from $377-380.50/cwt FOB the lot. Most of the cattle that traded were being scheduled for the first half of May delivery. In some instances, cattle will be picked up in seven days. Over the past four weeks, Western Canadian fed slaughter has averaged 40,000 head/week compared to 43,000 head/week last year.

The Canfax average feeder steer and heifer price was $4-5/cwt higher. Alberta 550 lb steer and heifer calves traded $3-6/cwt stronger; prices are $102-107/cwt higher than last year. Heifers weighing more than 800 lb traded $2-3/cwt higher. Alberta 900 lb steers for September delivery traded in the low $270s/cwt. Forward delivery prices for yearlings off grass are record high. The Western Canadian calf index closed the week at $332.37/cwt. Alberta auction volumes totaled just more than 26,000 head, fully steady with the same week last year. Canadian feeder cattle exports to the U.S. for the week ending April 15 totaled 4,917 head; this is the largest weekly export volume seen this year.

Alberta D2 cows traded $6.25/cwt higher than the previous week, and live trade was reported from $131‑162/cwt. D3 cows averaged $126.50/cwt. Alberta cow prices are trading $5/cwt shy of their all-time highs set back in the spring of 2015. Butcher bulls traded fully steady, averaging $155/cwt, with a trading range from $140-172/cwt. Canadian butcher bull exports to the U.S. for the week ending April 15 totaled 476 head.


  • One could make the argument that Western Canadian feedlot inventories are the most current they have been in a couple years.
  • May is traditionally when we see the strongest fed cash-to-futures basis of the entire year.
  • According to Statistics Canada, Canadian barley acres are projected to be up slightly compared to last year, which is positive news for the feedlot sector.


  • Based on the five-year average, from the start to the end of May on average, fed prices decline 6%.
  • U.S. total pork in cold storage at the end of March is 10% larger than last year.
  • For the first two months of this year, Canadian beef imports from New Zealand, Uruguay, and Brazil are above last year.

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About the Author


For over 50 years, Canfax has provided expert analysis of markets and trends in the ever-changing North American beef industry. In this new millennium, cattlemen, feedlot managers, and agri-business professionals will continue to rely on up-to-the-minute information as an essential tool for maximizing profit in today’s beef sector. Whether your operation needs to plan for three hours or three years into the future, Canfax delivers timely, accurate information for 21st Century cattle industry professionals. Those interested in becoming Canfax members can sign up on the website at www.canfax.ca.

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Livestock Price Insurance Index

Expiry Fed Feeder Calf
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5-Feb 238 328 -
4-Mar 238 330 -
1-Apr 244 334 -
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27-May 252 342 -
Last Updated on September 14, 2023