Canada Cattle On Feed At 2021 Peak

The number of cattle on feed in Alberta and Saskatchewan on Nov. 1 was at its highest point this year and turned upward seasonally, according to statistics gathered by CanFax and then compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver.

CanFax, a division of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association in Calgary, Alberta, gathers the information from member feedlots but only distributes the total on feed and the number of placements to the LMIC for public dissemination.  All of the information is given to its members.




The number of cattle in Canadian feedlots on Nov. 1 was up to 1.121 million head, compared with 929,453 on Oct. 1, a gain of 191,963, or 20.7%.  The November total also was up 181,168, or 19.3%, from 940,248 a year ago and up 265,166, or 31.0%, from the 2015-2019 average of 856,250.

The Canadian on-feed number ran less than last year’s comparable numbers up to July 1.  Since then, the number has been more than the comparable 2020 month, and any seasonal moves until November have been muted when compared with the average or last year.

As it stands, the number of cattle on feed in Canada would have to decline sharply by Dec. 1 to get down to the totals of last year or the previous five-year average.  And, given the steepness of the seasonal increase from November to December, it would be very unusual for a decline into Dec. 1.

However, the Jan. 1 number usually is smaller than the Dec. 1 number on feed because the fall weaning and feedlot placement season is over, and more cattle exit the feedlots in December than enter.

Seasonalities in Canada’s feedlots is very prominent because of the sharp difference in weather between summer and winter.  Weather conditions almost dictate certain seasonal trends in cattle movement.




The number of cattle placed on feed in Canada in October reached a 2021 peak in October – right on time for the seasonal trends.

The data showed that 415,466 head of young cattle were placed into Canadian feedlots in October, a gain of 211,761, or 103.95%, from 203,705 in September.  This also was up 65,188, or 18.6%, from 350,278 in October 2020 and up 77,696, or 23.0%, from the previous five-year average of 337,770.

Going forward, there is a very strong seasonal tendency for Canadian feedlot placements to decline in November with an even steeper drop in December.  The December low usually competes with the January placement rate but falls short of the annual low, usually in July.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week were $131.81 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $129.52 to $132.00.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $205.64 to $205.81 per cwt, versus $197.79 to $203.85.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was down $1.07 per cwt at $282.13, while select was off $0.69 at $266.59.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $15.54 from $15.92 with 122 loads of fabricated product and 40 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported Tuesday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.30 to $1.40 a bushel over the Dec futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.40 over Dec, which settled at $5.71 a bushel, down $0.05 1/2.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $155.49 per cwt up $0.06.  This compares with Tuesday’s Nov contract settlement of $155.59 per cwt, down $0.27.