Negative media on finely textured beef set a bearish tone in cattle markets last week. Cattle futures plummeted and cutouts softened to discourage packer procurement. Last week’s Canfax average steer and heifer prices were $0.80 - $1.70/cwt lower than the previous week and averaged around $115/cwt. Lower bids encouraged feedlots to look for markets south of the border and a considerable number of feedlots chose to carry cattle over. A total of 11,875 head traded last week, down 17% compared to the previous week. Alberta fed cash to futures basis widened $1.00 last week. USDA reported fed cattle exports to the US for the week ending March 17th were up 3% from the previous week.
The feeder market price descent continued last week as margins remain narrow. Last week’s Canfax average feeder steer price was $2.78 lower while heifers eased $2.21. The Western Canadian feeder index closed the week at $142.62/cwt, down $0.67 from the previous week. The USDA reported that Canadian feeder exports to the US for the week ending March 17th were up 14% from the previous week.
For the first time this year non-fed values were reported below year ago levels. D1, D2 cows traded $0.50/cwt lower than the previous week ranging from $71.00-83.00/cwt. D3 cows eased $0.75/cwt. lower and averaged $69.25/cwt. Butcher bulls firmed $0.60/cwt higher last week trading from $80.00-98.00/cwt. USDA reported 3,640 Canadian non-fed cattle were exported to the US for the week ending March 17th.
• Beef demand should see an improvement after Easter
• Significant volumes of fall fed calves will not be market ready for a few weeks
• Fed cattle exports have been higher than a year ago
• Negative LFTB media has adversely affected the beef and cattle market complex
• Local packers are comfortably forward bought
• Higher feed grain values are eroding feeder margins
For more detailed information on markets this week please visit the Canfax website www.canfax.ca.