Alberta direct fed cattle sales clambered higher again last week to establish a new annual high. Steer prices were the strongest seen since May 2017. The bulk of sales were reported dressed from $300-305/cwt delivered. Light live trade was fully comparable with rail sales. Feedlots were motivated sellers, marketing heavier cattle in anticipation of future weight discounts. Most cattle marketed were scheduled for the week of October 31st. Western Canadian fed slaughter for the week ending September 17th eased 5% lower than the previous week to 42,030 head. Year-to-date Western fed slaughter was up 1% totaling 1,600,254 head. Year‑to-date fed cattle/cow exports were 14% larger at 331,444 head.
Alberta auction volumes were considerably lower last week, down 37% from the previous week. Volumes have realigned closer to seasonal norms after the previous week’s spike going through Alberta sales yards. Alberta feeder steers were mixed with light-weight feeders $2‑5/cwt stronger. Steers 6-700 lb were off most significantly, down almost $2/cwt, after climbing to recent highs above $260/cwt. Medium weight classes of heifers traded mostly steady to stronger, while heavier heifers were $1/cwt weaker. Rising barley prices may be pulling some of the premiums seen in previous weeks out of feeder prices.
Non-fed prices were steady to lower last week. D2 cows ended the week $3/cwt lower averaging $101.59/cwt. Butcher bulls were steady averaging $128.63/cwt. Rail cows were $2‑3/cwt lower than last week at $203-207/cwt delivered. Slaughter bull exports to the U.S. were down 8% from the previous week. At 28,138 head YTD, this is still 37% higher than last year.
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