• • • Canada: feeder market eyes feed grain prices
At the end of last month western Canadian yearling markets were $4 on either side of unchanged and the market was quite variable across the Prairies. Strength was noted but feedlot operators pulled in the reins. Strength in the barley market along with lower feeder cattle prices south of the border set a negative tone. Buyers’ remorse was setting in on early purchases. Many auction barns will have feature yearling sales over the next couple of weeks. The aggressive sentiment from previous weeks appears to have evaporated as buyers take a wait-and-see attitude. Margins are hovering in negative territory and feedlot operators want confirmation of stronger fed cattle prices before extending ownership.
Forage supplies will be relatively tight in Saskatchewan and cow-calf operators will sell cattle rather than buy feed over the winter. Mixed steers averaging 550 lbs. were quoted at $242 in southern Alberta while mixed heifers averaging 525 lbs. were valued at $222. In central Alberta, mixed steers averaging 675 lbs. traded for $214 and heifers weighing 670 lbs. were quoted at $203. The barley market is surprisingly strong as harvest moves into full gear across Western Canada. Grain traders are anticipating a sharp year-over-year increase in offshore movement due to lower production in Australia, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. A fair amount of corn is trading into southern Alberta and this will continue throughout the crop year. World barley and corn stocks will be fairly snug by the end of the 2018-19 crop year.