Ontario Fed Cattle Volumes Up, Prices Down

(Photo courtesy Farm & Food Care Ontario)

Canadian boxed beef prices are reported to be steadying.

Kevin Grier’s Canadian Boxed Beef Report for the week ending March 28th suggests that’s because of a depreciating dollar and ongoing cuts in production.

Grier reports Canadian beef margins at retail are below average while pork and chicken margins are above average.

More fed cattle were sold in Ontario last week than the week before and more than the same week last year.

Average fed steer and heifer prices were both over 4 dollars lower on the week and about 35 dollars lower than a year ago.

Cull cow sales were over 900 higher on both the previous week and last year, with the average price up about 3 dollars on the week and just over 36 dollars below a year ago.

Replacement cattle sales were lower – down almost 13 hundred from the week before and about 80 head fewer than the same week last year.

Beef Farmers of Ontario reports the week ended with good grass types selling steady, plainer types under pressure and yearlings and heavier cattle barely steady to under pressure.

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Weekly Cattle Comments – As Supplied by Beef Farmers of Ontario
Toll free: 1-866-370-2333 or Local: (519) 824-0334
Fax: (519) 824-9161 Email: markets@ontariobeef.com
Comments for the week ending March 31, 2016

There were 508 fed steers and heifers sold through Ontario auction markets this week up 209 head from last week, and 219 more than last year at this time. Fed steers ranged from $149.19-$169.14 with a weekly weighted average price of $162.42, down $4.29 from last week and $35.73 below the same time last year. Fed heifers sold from $150.95-$171.34 averaging $162.13 down $4.56 from last week and $34.02 below year ago prices. At the beginning of this reporting period auction markets called demand selective with prices down $1.00-$2.00. As the week progressed the market went from strong and steady to fully steady to higher on good quality, but ended the week on a selective demand at prices $2.00-$3.00 lower. A few extra fancy lots brought further premiums on good demand throughout the week.

The Ontario railgrade market eased slightly as the week progressed. This week started out fully steady to the last two weeks with steers from $282.00-$285.00 dressed and heifers $281.00-$284.00. But, by Wednesday the market had pulled back to $280.00-$284.00 for steers and $279.00-$283.00 for heifers with delivery varying from next week to the third week in April. This week’s average prices were down $0.75 from last week and $42.50 below last year at this time.

The Canadian Boxed Beef Report for the week ending March 28th, released by Kevin Grier, notes that “Pricing in Canada was more steady due to a depreciating dollar and more importantly the ongoing cuts in production. Demand in Canada has been a tough go. Distributors continue to adopt a buy and sell strategy. No distributor is getting product around them. Beef margins at retail are below average while pork and chicken margins are above average.” However, this week in Ontario beef features improved with 6 out of 9 major retailers featuring rib and tenderloin ads, with 5 doing so aggressively.

There were 2,602 cull cows sold through auction markets this week up 962 head from last week and 940 more than this time last year. Cull cows sold from $75.41-$100.09 with a weekly weighted average price of $87.36, up $2.94 from last week and $36.05 below year ago prices. Auction market reports started out as steady. As the week progressed the market was active, with prices slightly higher to $2.00-$3.00 stronger. By midweek the demand was strong and trade active with prices strong to $1.00-$2.00 higher and ended the week mostly steady to slightly lower on a good active trade.

Lighter receipts of 2,835 replacement cattle sold through auction markets this week down 1,286 head from last week and 79 less than the same time last year. Auction markets reported calves/light weights as selling on a selective demand with price reports ranging from barely steady to $10.00 cwt lower. The week ended with good grass types steady, with plainer types under further pressure. Yearlings/heavier cattle sold barely steady to steady early week, with plain types under pressure with some categories down $10.00 cwt. As the week progressed heavier cattle sold on a strong trade with prices fully steady to higher and ended the week barely steady to under pressure. Actual average prices this week for steers 400-500 lbs was down $11.03 from last week, 500-600 lbs down $11.23, 600-700 lbs up $1.25, 700-800 lbs down $12.80, 800-900 lbs down $5.44, 900-1000 lbs up $3.69 and steers over 1000 lbs sold $5.78 higher than last week on average. Heifers 400-500 lbs were up $0.27 from last week on average, 500-600 lbs down $15.44, 600-700 lbs down $5.79, 700-800 lbs down $8.41, 800-900 lbs down $7.74 and heifers over 900 lbs averaged $4.99 stronger than last week on average.

The Quebec Electronic Market this week ranged from $276.00-$279.00 dressed, down $2.94 from last week on average.

The Alberta cash cattle trade the week ending March 24th, did see some light trade develop. Canfax reported steers from $277.00-$281.00 dressed (FOB the feedlot), averaging $279.86 down $1.69 from the previous week on average. Business this week, reported by Canfax, saw steers trade at $168.00 live and $273.00-$274.50 dressed, averaging $273.99, down $5.87 from last week on a dressed basis. Heifers sold at $166.50 live and $274.50 dressed, with no sales last week to compare to.

The U.S. cash cattle trade the week ending March 24th did not develop until Thursday, with some light clean up trade happening Friday. The USDA Mandatory Price report lists live sales from $135.00-$138.00 with steers averaging $136.12 down $3.06 from the previous week, while heifers averaged $136.22 down $2.95. On the rail prices ranged from $215.00-$218.00 dressed, with steers averaging $217.67 down $5.22 from the week before, while heifers averaged $217.75 down $5.24. This week, light trade developed in parts of the north on Wednesday at $213.50-$216.00 dressed, down $2.00-$4.00, while the south remained untested. Thursday light to moderate trade developed in all areas with southern sales at $133.00 live, down $3.00 from last week while business in the north ranged from $214.00-$215.00 dressed, down $3.00-$4.00 from the week before. At time of reporting, Friday noon, a few sales have surfaced in the north at $215.00 dressed with a few live bids at $133.00-$134.00 in the north. At this point it appears that business in the south is completed and trade in the north is very light.

Jamie Gamble, Market Information Coordinator, Beef Farmers of Ontario.