Cattle volumes were down at auctions across the province on the week ended May 3, which is par for the course after spring highs were observed weeks prior.
“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks,” said Brian Perillat of Canfax in Calgary. “We’ve seen weakness recently in the cash markets.”
Perillat believed that spring highs reached their peak last week, when 900- to 1,000-lb. feeder steers saw prices in the $162- to $179-per-hundredweight range. This week, prices for the same weight class ranged from $135 to $160/cwt.
Prices on feeder cattle over 800 lbs. have come down by eight cents per pound, said Perillat.
“Looking at bigger supplies over the summer, fed cattle will get lower.”
Prices at markets in the United States are facing pressure as well, as many cattle have been moved to feedlots for the summer.
“That means there are a lot more coming to market in summer and early fall,” said Perillat. “Markets are pretty defensive for that reason.”
Pasture conditions and hay prices will be significant indicators of cattle markets going into summer, as most feeder cattle and calves are out to pasture until late summer.
“If there’s moisture and guys have grass, we should see five-weight calves up around $240-$250 range, which is strong,” Perillat remarked.