Alberta direct cattle sales saw moderate volume dressed trade last week with prices steady to $2/cwt higher than the previous week with the majority trading at $275/cwt delivered. Weighted average prices closed the week almost $1/cwt higher, setting a new annual high at $164.32/cwt. Things are returning to normal this week for JBS following a cyberattack with a Saturday kill added last week to recoup lost production. Canadian fed cattle/cow exports to the US for the week ending May 22nd dipped 11% lower than the previous week to 4,955 head and were sharply lower than the same week last year. YTD exports were down 14% at 183,540 head.
A thin volume of calves and feeders were on offer last week with prices trending either side of steady relative to quality. Calves and feeders continued to trade above last year and 2019. Many areas are again concerned about moisture levels, and with hot weather and limited follow through moisture, some producers are looking at moving feeders off grass early to preserve pasture for their cow herds. These conditions also limit demand for calves, and heifer calf prices are at a significant discount to steers given the light demand and high feed costs. Forward sales of grass cattle remain very limited.
Calving culls continue to come to town with some older late calving cows finding their way into the slaughter mix. Despite the production concerns early last week, demand for slaughter cows remained strong and D2 cow prices were $1/cwt higher than the previous week to a new annual high. Alberta cow prices tend to see only limited price improvement into June. Bull prices continued to weaken last week and are $3/cwt below the annual high from six weeks ago.
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