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Calves Held Back Where Possible

Fe e d e r cattle values showed some modest strength at the Manitoba auction yards over the week ended Oct. 30. The butcher market also saw some improvement, although prices were still too poor to encourage much business.

Volumes remain on the light side for this time of year, with many producers looking to hold out in the hopes of seeing better prices in the future, said cattle buyer Rick Wright.

“We’re probably running about two-thirds of what we expected to see on offer,” Wright said, adding that “there are certainly a lot of producers who will hold on to their calves and hope for better times down the road.”

If a producer were to wean his or her calves today, those animals would only come to market a minimum of six weeks from now, taking them to Christmastime when there is no real market. Wright expected those calves now likely won’t be seen at least until January. “Some guys are looking for alternatives, hoping the market will be better at that time,” he added.

However, payments still need to be made, which will keep a steady flow of cattle moving through the auction yards, he said. The approaching winter will also bring some more animals off the pasture. “As soon as we get some snow on the ground, that will chase some more in,” he said.

From a pricing standpoint, Wright thought there had been some improvement over the past few weeks, especially on heifer calves, as recent weakness in the feeder cattle market has finally triggered some more buying interest.

Demand from eastern Ontario has been particularly aggressive, he said, with the top-end animals seeing the most interest. Alberta feedlots are starting to fill up for the year, and western demand was also behind some of the cattle movement.

The Canadian dollar moved lower and was trading below US93 cents by Oct. 30, a drop of over two cents on the week. The weaker dollar should help somewhat on the bottom line, though it’s still not weak enough to make it profitable for U. S. feeders to bring in Canadian cattle.

U. S. business on feeder cattle remains virtually non-existent, although Wright said the weaker Canadian dollar had a positive effect on the butcher market. Fed cattle and cows were seeing some improvement, he said, as the weaker Canadian dollar has put U. S. customers in a better mood to buy. However, while prices may be up slightly, Wright thought the butcher cattle market was still “terrible” overall, which would continue to keep a cloud over the cattle sector.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

Note: All prices in Canadian dollars per hundredweight (cwt). These prices also generally represent the top one-third of sales reported by the auction yard.

Ashern Livestock Mart: An estimated 2,475 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Oct.

28. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows traded for $30-$37.50; D3 and D5 cows, $25-$30; and good bulls $45-$51.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. ranged from $75 to $85; 800-900 lbs., $80-$93.50; 700-800 lbs., $85-$99.25; 600-700 lbs., $95-$108.75; 500-600 lbs., $99-$116; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$120.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded at $70-$80.50; 800-900 lbs., $75-$84.50; 700-800 lbs., $81.50-$85.50; 600-700 lbs., $82-$95.50; 500-600 lbs., $85-$105; and 400-500 lbs., $85-$97.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Oct. 27 sale saw a total of 1,112 head of cattle sold at Gladstone. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $36 to $47 while cows brought $18-$39.50.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $78 to $81; 800-900 lbs., $75-$87; 700-800 lbs., $80-$95; 600-700 lbs., $85-$108; 500-600 lbs., $90-$116; 400-500 lbs., $90-$120; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$130.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $65 to $75; 700-800 lbs., $70-$80; 600-700 lbs., $70-$86; 500-600 lbs., $72-$91.50; 400-500 lbs., $80-$98; and 300-400 lbs., $88-$100.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: Results of this week’s cattle auction are not available.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 2,612 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded from $72 to $75.75; A1-A2 heifers, $70-$72.50; D1-D2 cows, $35-$41.25; feeder cows, $28-$34; shells, $15-$25; and mature bulls, $40-$44.50.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. went from $80 to $87.75; 700-800 lbs., $85-$95.25; 600-700 lbs., $90-$100; 500-600 lbs., $100-$112.25; 400-500 lbs., $105-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$116.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold from $75 to $82; 600-700 lbs., $78-$85; 500-600 lbs., $85-$94.75; 400-500 lbs., $88-$95.25; and 300-400 lbs., $95-$103.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 1,466 cattle sold at the sale held Oct.

28. Butcher steers brought $70-$73 while butcher heifers sold from $68 to $71.50. Ageverified/ young cows sold from $36 to $41.75; D1-D2 cows, $31-$36; D3 cows, $27-$31; shelly cows, $20-$27; and mature bulls, $47-$54.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $83-$89.50; 800-900 lbs., $85-$90.50; 700-800 lbs., $87-$95; 600-700 lbs., $91-$101; 500-600 lbs., $95-$110; 400-500 lbs., $102-$113; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$118.

Feeder hei fers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $76 to $83; 800-900 lbs., $77-$85; 700-800 lbs., $79-$85; 600-700 lbs., $81-$89; 500-600 lbs., $84-$93.50; and 400-500 lbs., $84-$99.

Killarney Auction Mart: There were 937 cattle sold at the Oct. 29 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows went from $30 to $37; D3 and D4 cows, $22-$28; and bulls, $43.50-$53.25.

Feeder steers weighing 700-850 lbs. sold from $85 to $91; 500-700 lbs., $110-$116, plain to medium $88-$95; and under 500 lbs., $116-$120, plain to medium $95-$102.

Feeder hei fers weighing 700-850 lbs. brought $80-$85; 500-700 lbs., $87-$94, plain to medium $76-$82; and under 500 lbs., $99-$104, plain to medium $74-$80.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 1,058 cattle sold at the sale held on Oct. 26. Included in the sale were 113 slaughter animals and 955 feeders. In the slaughter market, D1 cows sold from $36 to $44; D2 cows, $27-$33; D3 cows, $15-$25; and bulls, $45-$56.50.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. fetched $77-$90; 700-800 lbs., $81-$95; 600-700 lbs., $84-$100; 500-600 lbs., $89-$115; 400-500 lbs., $100-$120; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$121.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $70-$83.75; 700-800 lbs., $71-$87; 600-700 lbs., $74-$89; 500-600 lbs., $76-$91; 400-500 lbs., $82-$93; and 300-400 lbs., $88-$101.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,531 cattle were sold at the Oct. 29 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $30 to $39; D3-D4 cows, $20-$32; and bulls, $50-$54.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $75 to $86.50; 800-900 lbs., $82-$93; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $93-$107; 500-600 lbs., $95-$116; 400-500 lbs., $105-$122; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$115.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. went for $80-$89; 600-700 lbs., $85-$95; 500-600 lbs., $88-$100; 400-500 lbs., $95-$106; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$97.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held Oct. 29 resulted in 140 slaughter cattle and 1,083 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. traded from $72 to $76; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $70-$74.50; D1 and D2 cows, $35-$44; D3 and D5 cows, $25-$35; and good bulls, $50-$56.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $80-$85; 800-900 lbs., $85-$90; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $95-$104; 500-600 lbs., $100-$112; 400-500 lbs., $108-$115; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$120.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $75 to $82; 700-800 lbs., $78-$84; 600-700 lbs., $80-$86; 500-600 lbs., $82-$90; 400-500 lbs., $88-$94; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$105.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 1,816 head of cattle sold during the week ending Oct. 30. In the slaughter market, dry fed cows brought $31-$34; good fleshed, $27-$31; lean, $23-$27; young age verified, $35-$40; and good bulls, $42-$52.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. brought $82-$93.25; 700-800 lbs., $84-$97.75; 600-700 lbs., $88-$103; 500-600 lbs., $90-$112.50; 400-500 lbs., $95-$118; and under 400 lbs., $100-$120.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs., traded from $75 to $84; 700-800 lbs., $75-$87; 600-700 lbs., $80-$94.50; 500-600 lbs., $80-$98; and 400-500 lbs., $85-$98.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin - MarketsFarm

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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