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Absence Of Sales Makes Prices Stronger

Ac t i v i t y at the auction marts across Manitoba was generally quiet, with only two sales taking place during the week ending Jan. 7.

One of those was held at Heartland Livestock in Virden and although only 124 animals were brought in to be sold, Jim Blackshaw said the market was still pretty strong.

“It was a numbers thing. There hadn’t been a sale anywhere in Manitoba for about 10 days, so it should be decent for another week as well, and from there anything can happen,” he said. “The cattle seemed to be staying strong, going around 55 to 60 cents per pound on the better cows.”

The solid cattle prices have also been good from a business point of view for the auction mart, he said, and he expected things to continue to improve as 2011 rolls along.

“It usually gets stronger in January and February as far as the cows go, and the fats are sneaking up a bit too, so it’ll make a difference,” he said.

When asked why Virden decided to have a sale this week when nearly all other auction marts were extending their Chr istmas/New Year’s holiday, Blackshaw said the auction mart felt it was important for producers to have a place to market animals when they felt it was best for them.

The only other sale during the week took place in Winnipeg. All other auction marts will reopen this week except for Killarney, which will resume auctions on Jan. 20.

A GROWING NICHE

Beef demand remains strong, despite a growing bison industry. Bison demand has strengthened by 20 per cent over the past four years in North America.

However, Mark Silzer, president of the Canadian Bison Association in Regina, said it has not affected the marketing of beef whatsoever.

“We are so small in comparison to beef production. Bison is a niche product,” he said. “It is growing, but the per capita of bison production in Canada is about the equivalent of maybe two ounces per person. Compare that to beef demand on a per capita basis of 800 ounces, it’s pretty small.”

Silzer said the reason for this is that bison consumers are looking for something different.

“The health attributes have been driving the demand,” he said. “It’s lower in fat, lower in cholesterol, and for health-conscious consumers, that’s what they’re looking for.”

Meanwhile, there was more good news for the cattle industry, as the Canadian Beef Export Federation (CBEF) announced an increase in beef exports for the first three quarters of 2010.

Canadian beef and veal exports to Asia and Mexico rose by 30 per cent in volume, and 46 per cent in value, according to a release from the CBEF.

The breakdown included a 77 per cent increase to Japan, a nine per cent increase to Taiwan, a 72 per cent increase into Hong Kong and Macau, and a 14 per cent increase to Mexico.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

Note:AllpricesinCanadian dollarsperhundredweight. Thesepricesalsogenerally representthetopone-thirdof salesreportedbytheauction yard.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden:There were about 124 cattle sold at the sale held on Jan. 5.

Butcher steers brought $87-$92 while butcher heifers sold from $86 to $90.50. Age-verified/young cows ranged from $54 to $59.75; D1-D2 cows, $43-$57.50; D3 cows, $47-$53; shelly cows, $32-$45; and mature bulls, $61-$67.25.

Feeder steers weighing 800- 900 lbs. brought $105-$112.75; 700-800 lbs., $107-$117; 600- 700 lbs., $112-$123; 500-600 lbs., $123-$136; and 400-500 lbs., $132-$145.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $95 to $104.50; 700-800 lbs., $99- $107; 600-700 lbs., $101-$109; and 500-600 lbs., $100-$117.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 166 cattle sold at the sale held Jan. 7.

Dry fed cows sold from $51 to $54, while good fleshed cows brought $46-$51. Lean cows sold from $40 to $45 and young age-verified cows ranged from $45 to $55. Good bulls brought $65 to $72.

Feeder steers weighing 600- 700 lbs. brought $114-$124; 500-600 lbs., $120-$135; and 400-500 lbs., $125-$138.

Feeder heifers weighing 800- 900 lbs. traded from $92 to $101; 700-800 lbs., $98-$105; 600-700 lbs., $104-$110.50; 500-600 lbs., $110-$118.50; and 400-500 lbs., $112-$121.

Ashern Livestock Mart: Ashern’s last sale before the holidays was held Dec. 15, 2010; sales will resume Jan. 12.

Gladstone Auction Mart: Last sale, Dec. 14, 2010; sales resume Jan. 11, 2011.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart:Last sale, Dec. 15, 2010; sales resume Jan. 12.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon:Last sale, Dec. 21, 2010; sales resume Jan. 11.

Killarney Auction Mart: Last sale, Dec. 16, 2010; sales will resume Jan. 20.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: Last sale, Dec. 16, 2010; sales resume Jan. 13.

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BRENT HARDER

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