Canadian Feedlots Populations Above Year Ago

The number of cattle populating Canada’s feed yards declined in January, remaining above year-earlier figures and below the 2010-2014 average.

Data from CanFax for feedlots in Alberta and Saskatchewan and compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center show the number of cattle on feed Feb. 1 at 919,080 head.  This is down 18,611, or 1.98%, from January’s 937,691 head.

The Feb. 1 number also is down 15,490, or 1.66%, from the average of 934,570 head, but 50,213, or 5.78%, above the 868,867 head of a year earlier.

Feedlot supplies in Canada have a strong tendency to rise in March and April back up toward the annual high that comes Dec. 1.  From the Apr. 1 high, the total on-feed number declines to the Sep. 1 low before rebounding sharply through the fall.

On feed supplies in Canada appear to be influenced highly, and perhaps driven by, the availability of pasture in the summer and fall.  Once placed on feed in the fall, cattle would tend to remain there until reaching slaughter weight and size sometime in the spring or summer.




The trend in Canada’s feedlot placements appears to be very seasonal when plotted on a graph.   CanFax data show a rise in placements through the first quarter of the year followed by a decline to the July low.

January feedlot placements in Canada were listed at 98,654 head, up 10,011, or 11.1%, from December’s 88,643 head.  They also were up 8,090, or 8.93%, from the January 2015 rate of 90,564.

However, January feedlot placements were down 4,216 head, or 4.10%, from the 2010-2014 average of 102,870 head.




Weekly prices Canada’s cattle feeders are receiving for fed cattle are declining in Canadian dollar terms, despite the US’ repeal of its mandatory Country-Of-Origin labeling law Dec. 21.

Prices comparisons for foreign agricultural products always should include, if not focus on, comparisons in terms of that country’s currency in order to make sense of producer decisions about production.

The latest weekly prices received in Alberta for fed cattle averaged C$173.56, down C$3.65, or 2.06%, from the previous week’s C$177.21.  It also was down C$14.58, or 7.75%, from C$188.13 a year earlier.

However, it was C$63.29, or 57.4%, above the 2010-2014 average of C$110.27.




US cash cattle sold $3 lower last week at mostly $133 per cwt on a live basis in Texas and Kansas.  In Nebraska, live sales were posted at $128 to $132, with dressed-basis sales at $206, generally $4 lower.

The USDA reported mixed wholesale beef prices Friday, with choice down $0.79 per cwt at $215.29, and select up $0.17 at $212.20.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $2.59 from $2.75, and there were 106 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Thursday was $157.60 per cwt, down $1.19.  This compares with Mar’s Friday settlement of $150.02, down $0.22.