The selloff of cattle futures continued as burdensome headlines of lean fine textured beef obstructed consumer and investor confidence. For the past couple of weeks US buyers have been very active in procuring Canadian cattle. Light trade was reported last week. Alberta steers and heifers averaged just under 110.00/cwt, down $5.00/cwt from the previous week. For the fifth consecutive week, Alberta/Saskatchewan showlist volumes have experienced a reduction in captive supplies. Accumulated sales volumes totaled 11,700, down 1% from the previous week. USDA reported Canadian fed cattle exported to the US for the week ending March 24th totaled 11,876.
Weakness in the fed market combined with high cost of gains pressured feeder cattle prices. The Canfax average steer price was $1.44 lower while heifers eased $1.65. The Western Canadian feeder index closed the week at $141.18/cwt, down $1.44 from the previous week. Varying quality of light calves on offer saw 3-500 steers and heifers trade $1.00-4.00 lower. Auction volumes for the four day holiday week totaled 14,300 head. USDA reported Canadian feeders exported to the US for the week ending March 24th totaled 4,471.
As the US gears up to import more lean trim, local non-fed prices last week firmed. D1, D2 cows are trading from $71.00-82.00/cwt. D3 cows averaged $69.60/cwt, up $0.35 from the previous week. Rail bids are ranging from $146.00-151.00/cwt delivered. Butcher bulls are trading from $80.00-100.00/cwt. USDA reported Canadian non-fed cattle exported to the US for the week ending March 24th totaled 3,587.
• Beef demand should improve as we move past Easter
• Technically cattle futures look oversold and could rebound
• Carcass weights should trend lower
• Increasing fed supplies in the US could reduce packer interest
• Weakness in the US fed market was realized as dressed sales in the Northern US were 8.00 lower than the previous week.
• Seasonally fed prices could trend lower
For more detailed information on markets this week please visit the Canfax website www.canfax.ca.