Alberta cow market update

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Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

‘The average D1-2 price was $70.80 per cwt for the week of December 7, up $2.60 per cwt over the last four weeks, a gain of about $36 per head on a 1,400 lb cow,” explains Jason Wood, provincial livestock market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

‘Year-to-date, the western Canada cow market is averaging $82.31 per cwt, 5.4% lower than in 2019 and 10% below the 3-year average.’

Image 1. Alberta D1-2 weekly cow price

Wood says the cow market typically moves lower in fall then improves into year-end, adding the Alberta cow price recovered quickly after the COVID plant disruptions this past spring.

‘Throughout 2020, the cow market has consistently been below the 3-year average price,’ explains Wood. ‘Following the slaughter disruption earlier this year, there has been a focus to reduce the backlog of fed steers and heifers, taking hook space from cows.’

Image 2. Alberta-U.S. weekly cash price spread (D1-2 cows)

Wood says compared to the U.S. cow market, weekly Alberta cow prices have been trading at a premium to U.S. cows about half the time this year. ‘This is a change from the previous 3 years, when local cow prices were consistently higher than U.S. cows. Year-to-date, the Alberta cow price is averaging about 39 cents per cwt lower than the U.S. cow market.’

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