As we move towards this fall’s run of calves going to market, there are a number of factors at play. Slaughter steer and heifer prices are a lot lower than a year ago. According to the Cattle Market Update reports from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, the live weight price on a fed steer is only about 80 cents a pound right now. A year ago, the price was 96 cents. However, barley prices are lower than a year ago and that has helped support feeder cattle prices. Feeder steers in the 600 to 700 pound weight range have been averaging about $1.02 a pound at Saskatchewan auction markets. That’s lower than the $1.08 a pound at this time last year, but the difference would be much greater without cheaper barley. While barley is cheaper, forage supplies are much more expensive than a year ago so that is going to factor into decision making. Another factor is the big rain received in most areas. That should help some cattle producers prolong their pasture season and may take some pressure off to send calves to market early. Another factor that’s really important for cattle markets is the value of the Canadian dollar. To no one’s surprise, the just released estimates from Statistics Canada show the Canadian beef cow herd continues to decline. I’m Kevin Hursh. For other commodity prices visit www.dynagra.com

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Kevin Hursh PAg, CAC