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May 17, 2021 Current Markets & Forecasts

Canfax Weekly Article | Report for the week of May 17, 2021

Western Canadian fed prices have tracked higher for six consecutive weeks. The market is currently in the process of carving out its second quarter highs. Closing at over $163/cwt, this is the fifth highest weekly fed price in the past three years. Active trade developed with dressed sales ranging from $270-276/cwt delivered. Cattle that traded last week were being scheduled for late May/early June delivery. For the week ending May 8th Western Canadian fed slaughter totaled just under 40,500 head.

Light weight calf prices softened last week to pull weekly average feeder prices lower. Larger calves over 600 lbs traded mixed with steers fully steady while similar weight heifers saw prices ease modestly lower. Large feeders over 800 lbs saw a similar mixed price trend with steers firming $1.00-1.50/cwt higher and heifers dipping $1.50-2.75/cwt lower. Alberta auction volumes continue to seasonally tighten and were 32% lower than the previous week at 15,738 head. Canadian feeder exports to the US for the week ending May 1st were 9% lower than the previous week and YTD were 50% lower at 29,068 head.

Non-fed prices firmed higher last week with good demand reported on the modest offering. D2 and D3 slaughter cows averaged around $1/cwt higher than the previous week and prices were the strongest seen since May 2019. Dressed cow bids firmed $2/cwt higher last week ranging from around $187-192/cwt delivered. Butcher bulls saw prices rebound $1.85/cwt higher than the previous week to average $114.07/cwt. Alberta slaughter cow prices were at a $16+/cwt premium to range bound US utility cows. Western Canadian non-fed slaughter for the week ending May 8th was 1% larger than the previous week at 6,340 head and YTD was down 8% to 124,891 head.


  • Canadian carcass weights are aligning below year ago
  • The Alberta fed basis continues seasonally strong
  • Cattle on Feed inventories have been below year ago for 7 months


  • Feed barely for June delivery traded from $350-360/cwt tonne last week
  • Value of restocked beef is expense
  • US packers are struggling to maintain typical weekly chain speed

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

Disclaimer: Not for further distribution without permission from Canfax

Photo: Canada Beef Inc.

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