Under new management, the Brooks packing plant commenced restricted operation last week and in turn helped to reenergize the fed market. The Canfax average steer and heifer price closed the week at $113.75/cwt and $114.50/cwt respectively, up $3.75-4.00/cwt from the previous week. The bulk of dressed trade was reported at $190.00-191.00/cwt delivered. Last week US packers expressed limited interest in Canadian cattle. The majority of last week’s showlist was cleaned up, accumulated sale volumes totaled 14,200. Last week’s Alberta fed cash to futures basis closed the week at -12.27. Canadian fed exports to the US for the week ending October 20th totaled 17,312.

With fall run in full swing, the feeder market continues to show signs of stabilization. The Canfax average steer price closed the week $0.62 higher while heifers strengthened $0.74. 900+ steers and heifers traded $2.00-3.00/cwt higher while 500-700 lb heifers traded generally $1.00/cwt higher. The only weight class that traded lower last week was 300-400 lb steer and heifer calves. The Western Canadian calf index closed the week at $151.44/cwt, down $0.26/ from the previous week. Reported Alberta auction volumes totaled 78,500. Canadian feeder exports to the US for the week ending October 20th totaled 4,213.

A moderate non-fed offering was observed last week through commercial auction facilities. D1, D2 cows traded generally $0.75 higher with live trade reported from $58.00-73.00/cwt. D3 cows averaged $58.15/cwt, up $0.50 from the previous week. Rail bids were reported from $127.00-132.00/cwt delivered. Butcher bulls traded $0.75/cwt higher with live trade reported from $70.00-87.00/cwt. Canadian non-fed exports to the US for the week ending October 20th totaled 6,703.

Bull factors

  • Alberta/Saskatchewan showlist volumes have moderated and are becoming more current

  • Canadian Fed and non-fed exports were the largest reported this year

  • Historically, cash to futures basis levels strengthen moving into November

Bear factors

  • The impact of hurricane Sandy has disrupted beef movement and cutouts were reported sharply lower

  • Western Canadian carcass weights continue to ratchet higher

  • US packers could slow chain speeds as processing margins remain poor

For more detailed information on markets this week please visit the Canfax website www.canfax.ca.