Compared to last week, Western Canadian feeder cattle prices were relatively unchanged. Yearlings supplies were limited in certain regions which caused buyers to shrug off fleshier characteristics in some cases; however, heavier yearlings over 950 pounds were somewhat softer. Finishing feedlots appeared to be more aggressive on heavier, vaccinated or pre-conditioned calves. Many auction barns held pre-sort sales which attracted key buyers. Pen conditions have improved in Southern Alberta and orders stretched across the prairies.
Despite the delayed corn harvest in Ontario, Eastern buyers were more active in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Western Canadian farmers are in the final stages of combining and stronger demand was also evident from backgrounding operations. Lighter weight, unweaned bawlers were noticeable stronger, trading $3 to $5 above week-ago levels in some cases. On the flip side, calves weighing 550 to 700 pounds with no vaccinations were discounted $4 to as much as $6 from average levels.
A small group of medium flesh Simmental steers weighing just under 900 pounds were quoted at $186 in Central Alberta while larger frame medium flesh heifers weighing 880 pounds were quoted at $180. Medium to larger frame lower flesh black Angus based steers weighing 825 pounds were valued at $197 in Southern Alberta.
In Southern Saskatchewan, Charolais blended steers averaging 620 pounds were quoted at $213 and similar quality 630 pound heifers were valued at $182. In Central Manitoba, black steers weighing 660 pounds reportedly sold for $205. Near Lethbridge, red mixed steers weighing 450 pounds reached up to $238 while 420 pound tan steers were valued at $249.
Overall, this is the height of the fall run and buyers that were waiting to step forward ran out of patience. We’ve seen a steady rally in the live and feeder cattle futures which also contributed to the anxious sentiment. Smaller groups of quality cattle experienced minor discounts; however, cattle merchants were extremely confident taking ownership because they could easily build up packages to distribute amongst regular customers. Finishing feedlots were also placing calves in custom backgrounding lots for short keep, pre-conditioning care. This buying behaviour evened out the feeder market across the prairies.