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Demand Beyond Supply For Lighter-Weight Cattle

The larger volumes of cattle moving through Manitoba’s cattle yards, as activity picks up after the Christmas slowdown, are being met by strong demand keeping values well supported. Those firm prices show little sign of letting up.

The best demand was for the lighter-weight cattle, under 750 pounds, that were suitable to go to pastures, said Rick Wright, a cattle buyer with Heartland Order Buyers. Strength in the lighter-weight animals was tied to the fact that many buyers didn’t make purchases in the fall, choosing instead to wait for spring when prices might be cheaper, he said. However, prices have gone higher rather than lower over the winter months and now demand was outstripping supply of those animals.

Spreads between steers and heifers were tightening up as more buyers look to obtain some heifers for breeding purposes, he added. “They need to outbid the feedlot guys to get them.”

For the heavier animals, above 800 lbs., Wright said values may have hit their peak for the time being. “Grain prices are going up, the futures are good, but there isn’t a lot of margin left in them.”

About 60 to 70 per cent of the feeders moving through the auction yards continue to head west, with the remainder either staying locally or moving to the East. “There’s nothing going south (to the U.S.) right now,” said Wright.

The Canadian dollar continues to hold above parity with the U.S. currency, which contributes to the lack of movement across the border. However, cost-of-gain calculations favour keeping the animals in Canada, as feed grain costs have not risen to the same extent here as in the U.S.

On the slaughter side, cows are fully steady and fat cattle are good as well, according to Wright.

While winter weather conditions could be giving some sellers second thoughts about moving their animals to market, Wright said the strong prices should entice enough movement to keep activity brisk.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

Note:AllpricesinCanadian dollarsperhundredweight. Thesepricesalsogenerallyrepresent thetopone-thirdofsales reportedbytheauctionyard.

Ashern Livestock Mart:An estimated 2,326 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Jan. 26, of which 326 were slaughter animals. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows sold anywhere from $52 to $58; D3 and D5 cows, $42-$50; age verified, $58-$64; and good bulls, $60- $76.75.

Feeder steers weighing 800- 900 lbs. brought $109-$123.50; 700-800 lbs., $100-$130.50; 600- 700 lbs., $120-$136.75; 500-600 lbs., $138-$155.50; 400-500 lbs., $140-$163; and 300-400 lbs., $150-$164.

Feeder heifers weighing 700- 800 lbs. brought $109-$126.50; 600-700 lbs., $105-$130; 500-600 lbs., $110-$143; and 400-500 lbs., brought $120-$149.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Jan. 25 sale saw a total of 772 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $55 to $70.50 while cows brought $25- $62.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. category traded from $100 to $112.50; 800-900 lbs., $100-$118.50; 700-800 lbs., $105-$126.75; 600-700 lbs., $100-$140; 500-600 lbs., $100- $147.50; 400-500 lbs., $120-$160; and 300-400 lbs., $130-$147.

Feeder heifers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs., brought $80-$98.50; 800-900 lbs., $80-$106.50; 700- 800 lbs., $80-$116.75; 600-700 lb., $85-$128; 500-600 lbs., $100- $131; 400-500 lbs., $100-$137; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$136.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart:There were 158 slaughter cattle and 776 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard on Jan. 26.

In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows traded from $55 to $58; lean export cows, $49-$53; mature cows, $47-$52; feeding cows, $60-$71.50; export bulls, $64-$70.25; and mature bulls, $60-$65.

Feeder heifers weighing 800- 900 lbs. sold from $94 to $105; 700-800 lbs., $102-$117.75; 600- 700 lbs., $114-$126; 500-600 lbs., $125-$141; 400-500 lbs., $132-$138; and under 400 lbs., $125-$139.

Feeder steers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. ranged from $95 to $107; 800-900 lbs., $104-$118.50; 700-800 lbs., $116-$125.50; 600- 700 lbs., $122-$139; 500-600 lbs., $137-$156; 400-500 lbs., $150-$171; and under 400 lbs., $150-$170.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon:A total of 2,447 cattle were on offer in Brandon at the Jan. 25 sale. In the slaughter market, A1-A2 steers brought $89-$93; A1-A2 heifers, $87-$92; D1-D2 cows, $54-$64; D3 cows, $45-$55; and good bulls, $67- $74.

Feeder steers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. ranged from $105 to $114; 800-900 lbs., $112-$121; 700-800 lbs., $122-$130; 600-700 lbs., $130-$141.25; 500-600 lbs., $140-$149; 400-500 lbs., $147- $158.50; and 300-400 lbs., $160- $175.

Feeder heifers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. brought $95-$105; 800-900 lbs., $100-$112; 700-800 lbs., $108-$117; 600-700 lbs., $120-$128; 500-600 lbs., $127- $140; 400-500 lbs., $132-$147; and 300-400 lbs., $135-$145.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden:There were about 1,789 cattle sold at the sale held Jan. 26.

Butcher steers brought $90- $95.25, while butcher heifers sold from $89 to $94.50. Ageverified/ young cows ranged from $57 to $64; D1 and D2 cows, $55-$61; D3 cows, $50- $55; shelly cows, $40-$50; and mature bulls, $68-$75.

Feeder steers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. brought $107-$115; 800-900 lbs., $110-$118.75; 700- 800 lbs., $116-$127; 600-700 lbs., $123-$140.50; 500-600 lbs., $133-$152; and 400-500 lbs., $140-$165.

Feeder heifers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. traded from $99 to $106; 800-900 lbs., $102-$112.50; 700-800 lbs., $108-$120; 600-700 lbs., $113-$124; 500-600 lbs., $119-$137; and 400-500 lbs., $124-$143.

Killarney Auction Mart: Prices unavailable.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart:A total of 1,647 cattle were sold at the Jan. 27 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $55 to $64; D3 and D4 cows, $45-$54; canners, $25- $41; and bulls, $60-$67.

Feeder steers weighing 800- 900 lbs. brought $110-$122; 700- 800 lbs., $115-$129; 600-700 lbs., $125-$144; 500-600 lbs., $140- $156; 400-500 lbs., $140-$167; and 300-400 lbs., $145-$166.

Feeder heifers weighing 800- 900 lbs. brought $102-$113; 700- 800 lbs., $109-$120; 600-700 lbs., $115-$125; 500-600 lbs., $125- $140; 400-500 lbs., $130-$146; and 300-400 lbs., $125-$144.

Taylor Auctions, Melita:The sale held Jan. 27 resulted in 81 slaughter cattle and 790 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. brought $90-$95.50; A1 and A2 heifers, $88-$92.50; D1 and D2 cows, $52-$62; D3 and D5 cows, $48-$52; and good bulls, $68-$72.

Feeder steers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. brought $105-$118; 800-900 lbs., $110-$122; 700-800 lbs., $120-$132; 600-700 lbs., $125-$140; 500-600 lbs., $138- $155; 400-500 lbs., $145-$160; and 300-400 lbs., $155-$182.

Feeder heifers weighing 800- 900 lbs. traded from $105 to $110; 700-800 lbs., $115-$125; 600-700 lbs., $120-$128; 500-600 lbs., $125-$130; 400-500 lbs., $130-$135; and 300-400 lbs., $135-$145.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 1,331 cattle sold at the sale held Jan. 28.

In the slaughter market, dry fed cows sold from $54 to $59, good fleshed, $48-$54; lean, $42-$48; age verified, $48-$62; and good bulls, $60-$71.

Feeder steers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. brought $100-$108; 800-900 lbs., $108-$118.25; 700- 800 lbs., $115-$123.25; 600-700 lbs., $125-$138.50; 500-600 lbs., $130-$154; 400-500 lbs., $135- $161; and under 400 lbs., $140- $165.

Feeder heifers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. traded from $93 to $97; 800-900 lbs., $99-$106; 700- 800 lbs., $108-$115; 600-700 lbs., $112-$123; 500-600 lbs., $118- $139; and 400-500 lbs., $125- $142.

———

– Rick Wright, Heartland Order Buyers

Theyneedtooutbid thefeedlotguystoget (breedingheifers).”

About the author

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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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