Carcass weights and slaughter volumes


Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

‘Canadian steer carcass weights have been trending in line with the long-term average over the last 12 weeks,’ explains Wood. ‘Seasonally, steer carcass weights are stable through the first quarter, then decline to a low in late May-early June before peaking in late October-early November.’

He says that carcass weights rose in late April following COVID-19 disruptions that significantly reduced weekly beef processing capacity over a 7 week period. During a 3 week period at the beginning of May, steer carcass weights rose 28 lbs to 926 lbs, above average for that time period.

‘Western Canada slaughter volumes recovered with weekly volumes over the last 4 months, routinely exceeding weekly slaughter volumes from a year ago,’ he says. ‘As weekly slaughter rates returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, carcass weights declined to the long-term trend by the beginning of July.’

For the week ending September 19, 2020, steer carcasses averaged 938 lbs, up 19 lbs from the previous week and 15 lbs higher than the 5-year average.

‘This increase in weekly carcass weights should be monitored but market conditions, backlog and lift times are factors,’ he notes. ‘Year-to-date, steer carcass weights are averaging 904 lbs, one pound higher than in 2019 and 9 lbs higher than the 5-year average.’

Western Canada cattle slaughter to mid-September is 1.687 million head, 6.4% below 2019 but up 6.7% compared to the 5-year average.

‘Year-over-year, steer slaughter is down 3.7%, heifer slaughter is down 1.6%, cow slaughter is down 24%, and bull slaughter is down 27.2%,’ he adds. ‘Canadian beef production, to the week ending September 19, is down 5% at 1.86 billion lbs compared to 2019.’


For more information, contact Jason Wood:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-3122
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)


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