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Cattle Demand Outstrips Supply

The numb er of animals marketed at Manitoba’s cattle auction yards during the week ended Feb. 26 held fairly steady although demand was classified as strong. Prices for the cattle were steady to stronger, depending on the animal type and quality.

“It was definitely a banner week for prices and demand,” said Rick Wright, a cattle buyer with Heartland Order Buying Co. But while the numbers of cattle being marketed were pretty good overall, they continue to be considerably less than in previous years at this time.

Wright noted that a lot of the animals that were coming to the market were “farm fresh cattle,” meaning the first time the animals have come to town.

The number of cattle coming to market is not likely to increase anytime soon. “From the companies I have spoken with across Canada, they are predicting that the numbers of animals making their way to the auction yards will be down 20 to 30 per cent right across Canada during the spring period,” Wright said.

The decline was a direct result of the cattle herd liquidation situation. The fact a lot of producers were also into calving season was also being linked to the lack of marketings at this time, Wright said.

“We are starting to see prices surpass the level that we saw in the fall,” Wright said. “We have also seen the price spread between steers and heifers shrink considerably.”

That spread was as much as 20 cents in the fall between steers and heifers but now that margin was in the 10-cent area, if not a bit lower in some instances.

However, he cautioned, while producers have been seeing some better prices for cattle, the value of the animals continues to be below their investment.

As for the buyers of grass cattle, the investment is being classified as high risk, Wright said.

“There is nothing in the futures market that supports the prices the guys are paying for cattle at present,” he said, noting that the market is in transition from being supply driven to demand driven.

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 1,606 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Feb. 24. In the slaughter market, heiferettes traded from $55 to $67; older shelly cows, $25 and up; age-verified D1 and D2 cows, $50-$58; D3 and D5 cows, $42-$48; and good bulls $58-$67.50.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. ranged from $88-$104.60; 700-800 lbs., $90-$109; 600-700 lbs., $95-$114.25; 500-600 lbs., $105-$124; 400-500 lbs., $111-$123.50; and 300-400 lbs., $120-$129.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs., brought $80-$89.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$96.50; 600-700 lbs., $85-$99; 500-600 lbs., $89-$104.50; and 400-500 lbs., $97-$110.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Feb. 23 sale saw a total of 1,347 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $50 to $59.50 while cows brought $28-$48, with age verified up to $57.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $78 to $93; 800-900 lbs., $85-$94.75; 700-800 lbs., $85-$102.50; 600-700 lbs., $90-$113; 500-600 lbs., $90-$126; 400-500 lbs., $110-$126.50; and 300-400 lbs., $104-$126.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $70 to $82.50; 800-900 lbs., $70-$95; 700-800 lbs., $75-$97.50; 600-700 lbs., $80-$100; 500-600 lbs., $90-$122; 400-500 lbs., $90-$108.50; and 300-400 lbs., $94-$108.50.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 160 slaughter cattle and 402 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard on Feb. 24. In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows traded from $51 to $55.75; lean export cows, $44-$49; mature cows, $35-$42; feeding cows, $45-$55; export bulls, $61-$67; and mature bulls, $50-$55.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $78 to $84.50; 700-800 lbs., $83-$89; 600-700 lbs., $88-$96; 500-600 lbs., $95-$108; 400-500 lbs., $105-$115; and under 400 lbs., $104-$113.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs., sold from $86 to $93; 700-800 lbs., $92-$100.25; 600-700 lbs., $100-$110; 500-600 lbs., $109-$118.50; 400-500 lbs., $116-$127; and under 400 lbs., $118-$126.50.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 2,246 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded from $72 to $79.25; A1-A2 heifers, $72-$79.50; D1-D2 cows, $38-$46, with age verified, $47-$54.75; D3 cows, $33-$38; feeder cows, $20-$32; and good bulls, $60-$63.75.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $84 to $91.50; 800-900 lbs., $90-$96; 700-800 lbs., $94-$102.25; 600-700 lbs., $100-$112.25; 500-600 lbs., $110-$123; 400-500 lbs., $112-$126; and 300-400 lbs., $115-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $78 to $81.75; 800-900 lbs., $80-$85.50; 700-800 lbs., $90-$97.50; 600-700 lbs., $92-$100; 500-600 lbs., $93-$103; 400-500 lbs., $100-$112; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$113.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 2,228 cattle sold at the sale held on Feb. 24. Butcher steers brought $74-$78.50 while butcher heifers sold from $72 to $77.50. Age-verified/ young cows sold from $48 to $55; D1-D2 cows, $40-$47; D3 cows, $36-$40; shelly cows, $32-$36; and mature bulls, $58-$65.75.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $85-$92.75; 800-900 lbs., $89-$97.75; 700-800 lbs., $94-$104; 600-700 lbs., $99-$113; 500-600 lbs., $110-$122; 400-500 lbs., $112-$127; and 300-400 lbs., $112-$128.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $76 to $82; 800-900 lbs., $80-$89; 700-800 lbs., $84-$94; 600-700 lbs., $89-$102; 500-600 lbs., $94-$104; and 400-500 lbs., $97-$106.

Killarney Auction Mart: There were 511 cattle sold at the Feb. 25 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows went from $41 to $47; D3 and D4 cows, $31-$37; and bulls, $60-$66.

Feeder steers weighing 700-850 lbs. sold from $81 to $94; 500-700 lbs., $116-$123, plain to medium $95-$102; and under 500 lbs., $118-$129, plain to medium, $105-$110.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-850 lbs. brought $87-$91; 500-700 lbs., $90-$98, plain to medium $81-$86; and under 500 lbs., $96-$101, plain to medium $81-$86.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 758 cattle sold at the sale held on Feb. 22. Included in the sale were 115 slaughter animals and 643 feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows sold from $43-$52, age verified up to $56.50; D2 cows, $37-$42; D3 cows, $20-$29; and bulls, $57-$70.

Feeder steers weighing over 900 lbs. fetched $84-$93; 800-900 lbs., $84-$97; 700-800 lbs., $90-$104; 600-700 lbs., $93-$110; 500-600 lbs., $102-$121; and 400-500 lbs., $114-$133.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $74-$86; 700-800 lbs., $80-$93; 600-700 lbs., $83-$99.50; 500-600 lbs., $90-$104; and 400-500 lbs., $94-$108.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,525 cattle were sold at the Feb. 25 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $43 to $49; D3-D4 cows, $30-$39; and bulls, $60-$69.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $86 to $95; 800-900 lbs., $88-$100; 700-800 lbs., $95-$106.50; 600-700 lbs., $100-$111.50; 500-600 lbs., $110-$122; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$126.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., brought $75-$87; 800-900 lbs., $83-$93; 700-800 lbs., $88-$98; 600-700 lbs., $90-$99; 500-600 lbs., $90-$107; and 400-500 lbs., $95-$113.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held Feb. 25 resulted in 200 slaughter cattle and 787 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. brought $77-$80.50; A1-A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $76-$80; D1-D2 cows, $45-$55; D3 and D5 cows, $35-$45; and good bulls, $65-$70.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $87-$92; 800-900 lbs., $90-$95; 700-800 lbs., $94-$98; 600-700 lbs., $100-$108; 500-600 lbs., $105-$118; 400-500 lbs., $110-$126; and 300-400 lbs., $115-$131.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $82 to $88; 700-800 lbs., $85-$94; 600-700 lbs., $90-$98; 500-600 lbs., $95-$108; 400-500 lbs., $100-$110; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$112.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 1,184 head of cattle sold during the week ending Feb. 26. In the slaughter market, choice steers and heifers sold from $76.50 to $79.75; select steers and heifers, $72-$76.50; dry fed cows, $41-$46; good fleshed, $36-$42; lean, $29-$37; young age verified, $40-$56.50; and good bulls, $48-$63.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $85-$96; 800-900 lbs., $88-$100.75; 700-800 lbs., $92-$102.75; 600-700 lbs., $95-$112; 500-600 lbs., $105-$124.50; 400-500 lbs., $110-$127; and under 400 lbs., $110-$125.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. traded from $85 to $97.25; 600-700 lbs., $84-$102.25; 500-600 lbs., $90-$111; 400-500 lbs., $95-$116 and under 400 lbs., $100-$114.

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