Canada’s On-Feed Numbers Remain Below 2020

Canada’s cattle-on-feed numbers continued to run lower than last year but greater than the 2015-2019 average as of March 1, while placement numbers through February were more than last year and the previous five-year average.

The data came from CanFax, a private market advisory group there.  CanFax shares the full set of its data about feedlot activity in Alberta and Saskatchewan with its members and shares total numbers and placement numbers with the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver, which compiles them and publishes them as graphs on its website.




The number of cattle populating Canada’s feedlots as of March 1 came to 1.004 million head, down 6,000, or 0.59%, from 1.010 million a month earlier and down 72,000, or 6.69%, from 1.076 million a year earlier.  However, the latest number was up 9,458 head, or 10.4%, from the 2015-2019 average of 909,420 head.

There is a strong tendency for Canada’s cattle-on-feed numbers to rise into the April 1 count and then declined into the Sep. 1 low.  It doesn’t always give a seasonal peak on April 1, though, as last year, on-feed numbers declined to April 1, rose to peak on May 1 and then slid to the Sep. 1 low.

The annual high usually occurs in the Dec. 1 count, although last year, the high came in the Jan. 1 tally.

It does seem unusual, though, for placements to be up from a year ago while on-feed totals are running below 2020.




February feedlot placements of calves were up from January, last year and the previous five-year average.

The data showed that Canada’s feedlots placed 145,243 head of feeder cattle on feed in February, up 9,448, or 6.96%, from 135,795 in January, up 22,918, or 18.7%, from 122,325 in February, 2020, and up 11,167, or 8.33%, from the 2015-2019 average of 134,076.

Should Canada’s feedlot placements follow the average, they will rise again in March for a seasonal peak.  After that, they will fall off into the July low.

Seasonal placements then will make a strong upswing to the October annual high as pastures die out for the winter.

Last year’s trend followed the previous five-year average closely as seasonal trends are more assured in Canada since the winter and summer seasons are more pronounced than in the lower 48 of the US.

Last spring, monthly feedlot placements in Canada bypassed the March peak, showing a much less pronounced seasonal high in February with a slight decline in March and April.

This year’s placements so far appear to be tracking last year’s monthly trends, although at a higher level.  They could cut off the March high again this year.




Fed cattle trading last week was at $113 to $114 per cwt on a live basis, steady with the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading was at $180, also steady.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $1.10 per cwt at $224.77, while select was off $2.22 at $218.05.  The choice/select spread widened to $6.72 from $5.60 with 80 loads of fabricated product and 23 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported Monday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.15 to $1.20 a bushel over the May CBOT futures contract, which settled at $5.49 ½ a bushel, up $0.10 ½.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Friday was $133.93 per cwt, down $0.20.  This compares with Monday’s Mar contract settlement of $137.02 per cwt, up $0.67.