Canada Cattle On Feed Up From Last Year, Average

The number of cattle populating feedlots in Alberta and Saskatchewan, CA, as of March 1 continued to be more than last year and the previous five-year average, said the Livestock Marketing Information Center in Denver, quoting statistics from CanFax, a private market advisory service in Canada.

CanFax generates the data from member feedlots in the two provinces, allowing the LMIC to compile and publish the number on feed and monthly placements.




The total on feed March 1 was reported at 1.094 million head, down 90,000, or 8.05%, from 1.118 million a month earlier but up 90,000, or 8.96%, from 1.004 million a year earlier and up 143,000, or 15.0%, from the 2016-2020 average of 951,443.

The monthly decline is somewhat normal.  On average, feedlot numbers rise a little into May 1, but the increase isn’t enough to call it a strong seasonal trend.

Going forward, the number of cattle on feed in Canada likely will bottom on Sep. 1, move a little higher for October and then climb to the annual high in December.  Last year, the low came on Sep. 1, but the change to Oct. 1 was marginal.

It’s interesting that the number of cattle on feed in Canada was above the five-year average all last year and began this year much above the five-year average.




But with on-feed numbers running higher than last year and the previous five-year average, placements remain very near last year and the 2016-2020 average.

February feedlot placements were pegged at 139,546 head, up 8,632, or 6.59%, from January’s 130,914, down 5,697, or 3.92%, from last year’s 145,243 and up 6,480, or 4.87%, from the five-year average of 133,066.

The climate in Canada dictates a stronger seasonal flow of calves to feedlots than in the US where climates vary from north to south.  As pastures green in the spring and then go dormant as fall approaches, calves are moved to where there is feed.

As a result, there is a seasonal high for placements in March, followed by a decline to the annual low in July.  Then comes a three-month period into October’s annual high for feedlot placements, followed by a strong decline into December.

Last year, feedlot placements followed the trend through May and then began an unseasonal push into September where placements were very close to normal.  An annual peak occurred in October, but it was higher than the average.

Last year, drought and wildfires hit western Canada hard, as they did in the US.  Pastures likely ran out earlier than normal.




The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $138.00 to $140.22 per cwt, compared with last week’s range of $138.08 to $140.00.  FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $215.97 to $218.45 per cwt, versus $216.09 to $220.18.

The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was up $1.47 per cwt at $259.97, while select was down $0.61 at $251.89.  The choice/select spread widened to $8.08 from $6.00 with 105 loads of fabricated product and 20 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported that basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.35 to $1.55 a bushel over the May futures and for southwest Kansas were steady at $0.00 over May, which settled at $7.49, down $0.04.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $155.13 per cwt up $0.20.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar contract settlement of $156.32 per cwt, up $0.22.