Cattle Market Update - 2008 Reports
Week of March 17 – March 21, 2008
This information is provided as a resource by Saskatchewan Agriculture staff.
Feeder cattle trading volumes were down last week due to the short week. Saskatchewan auction marts' volume of cattle was down approximately 1,000 head. This week's trade was 17,197 head, down from the previous week's 18,294 head. Saskatchewan feeder cattle prices were generally lower in both the steer and heifer markets. Light weight steers (300-400 lb.) traded sharply lower this week, down $7 per cwt. Steers 400-500 lb. were down $2 per cwt. Steers 500-600 lb. were a rare bright spot in this week's prices, up $1 per cwt. Six hundred to 900 lb. steers were down $1 per cwt, while heavy steers (900+ lb.) reported a slight increase, up $2 per cwt. Light weight heifers (300-400 lb.) were down $5 per cwt. Heifers 400-600 lb. traded down $4 per cwt. Heifers 600-700 lb. were down $1 per cwt. Heifers 700-800 and heavy heifers (800+) reported a price decline of $2 per cwt. Cash barley prices were relatively unchanged this week, with the average cash price of feed barley for Lethbridge delivery being approximately $220 per tonne, while delivery to the par region (Saskatoon delivery) was approximately $184 per tonne. The Canadian dollar this week had an average of US$0.9949, down from US$1.016. Although the average of the Canadian dollar is down less than a cent, the Canadian dollar declined from a high last week of $1.01 on Tuesday to $0.97 on Thursday, a decrease of $0.04. Canfax projected basis for the nearby April 2008 contract is -15.20.
Fed Cattle & Slaughter Cows
In Western Canada, the fed cattle market was positive as the Alberta fed cattle prices increased $1.50 per cwt. for steers and heifers. Saskatchewan fed cattle prices were unchanged this week. The sales volumes of fed cattle were not reported this week as a result of Good Friday. According to the USDA, there were 17,089 fed cattle exported to the United States, unchanged from last week's exports of 17,793 head. D1,2 cows recorded an average price for slaughter cows of $41.91 per cwt., down $3 per cwt. from $44.53 per cwt. the week previous. The Saskatchewan/Nebraska basis for fed cattle declined to $-8.30 from $-6.20 per cwt. Recent troubles in the U.S. financial sector are generating increased volatility in the commodity markets, which will be reflected in basis.
The USDA reported their Cattle on Feed numbers for March. The report was generally positive for the cattle sector, as cattle on feed came in as expected at 102.2 per cent, with 11.9 million head as of March 1, 2008. Net placements for February were 1.72 million head, 104 per cent of 2007 levels. Marketings of fed cattle during February totalled 1.78 million head, up four per cent from 2007.
For more information contact the Livestock Development Branch: