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Finished Cattle Prices Limit Buyer Interest

Ad o w n -turn in the Canadian dollar during the week ended Oct. 23 provided some support for cattle prices in the province. However, the activity at the auction yards was largely described as steady to mixed, with poor finished cattle prices continuing to keep a lid on the market.

“We saw some classes one to two higher this week, and we saw other classes one to two lower. It was all over the board,” said Robin Hill, manager of Heartland Livestock Services at Virden.

Overall, Hill thought the lighter cattle have held relatively steady, while in the butcher market, cows have also shown some improvement over the week, due to the declines in the Canadian dollar.

“We were looking at a US97.5-cent dollar Monday morning, and we’re back down to US95 cents (on Friday) and that will help a little bit,” said Hill.

However, with finished cattle only trading in the 70-to 73-cents-per-pound range, it’s difficult to generate interest among buyers. “It’s a little on the scary side if this is where prices will stay,” he commented.

Of the feeder cattle that were moving during the week, Hill estimated that 60 to 70 per cent were heading to western feedlots. He thought a quarter of the cattle were heading to Ontario and Quebec, while the remainder were staying locally. He thought local orders weren’t very strong yet as many potential buyers had enough work to keep themselves busy and were not ready to be bringing in cattle.

U. S. buying interest remains light, according to Hill. Select cows that can go to the U. S. were doing so, he said, but feeder cattle business was slow.

“I’m not saying there are none, but there sure aren’t many going that way,” he said on feeder cattle movement to the U. S.

The yearling run was nearly over for the year, with attention now turning to the calves, he said. The fall run would likely be smaller than in past, given the declining herd size overall, he expected.

For the time being, numbers are still steady and Hill said the next five weeks are usually the busiest of the year at the cattle yards. A lot of animals are still waiting on pasture, he noted, with many of the producers who calve in the April/May/June time period likely not looking to sell their calves until the middle of November.

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 2,361 head of cattle were sold at the sale held on Oct. 21. In the slaughter market, older shelly cows traded for $20 and up; age-verified D1 and D2 cows, $35-$40; D3 and D5 cows, $28-$35; and good bulls, $40-$57.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. ranged from $70 to $83.80; 800-900 lbs., $75-$89; 700-800 lbs., $80-$93.75; 600-700 lbs., $85-$97.25; 500-600 lbs., $95-$109.25; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$117.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded at $74-$79.90; 800-900 lbs., $70-$83; 700-800 lbs., $72-$86.60; 600-700 lbs., $75-$82.50; 500-600 lbs., $82-$89; and 400-500 lbs., $85-$98.50.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Oct. 20 sale saw a total of 929 head of cattle sold. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $40 to $50.75 while cows brought $12-$38.75.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $65 to $81.75; 800-900 lbs., $70-$87.25; 700-800 lbs., $75-$88; 600-700 lbs., $75-$96.50; 500-600 lbs., $78-$106.50; 400-500 lbs., $80-$114; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$115.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $65 to $70; 800-900 lbs., $60-$75.75; 700-800 lbs., $60-$78; 600-700 lbs., $60-$86; 500-600 lbs., $65-$89; 400-500 lbs., $70-$96; and 300-400 lbs., $70-$99.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 109 slaughter cattle and 841 feeders sold Oct. 21. In the slaughter market, mature cows brought $25-$32 while export good fleshed cows traded from $37 to $41.25. Export lean cows went for $34-$37; feeding cows, $36-$44; and bulls, $40-$45.25.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $74 to $81.50; 700-800 lbs., $78-$80; 600-700 lbs., $80-$85; 500-600 lbs., $82-$88; 400-500 lbs., $90-$98; and under 400 lbs., $90-$107.50.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $78 to $85; 700-800 lbs., $82-$88; 600-700 lbs., $90-$99.50; 500-600 lbs., $97-$106; 400-500 lbs., $105-$114; and under 400 lbs., $110-$119.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 3,150 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. Butcher steers traded from $70 to $73; D1-D2 cows, non-verified, $32; age verified, $38-$42.50; D3 cows, $25-$32; shells, $15-$25; and mature bulls, $48-$52.75.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. went from $76 to $81.50; 800-900 lbs., $80-$88.75; 700-800 lbs., $82-$90.25; 600-700 lbs., $88-$99; 500-600 lbs., $95-$110; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$113.75.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold from $72 to $82.75; 600-700 lbs., $78-$84.25; 500-600 lbs., $80-$89; 400-500 lbs., $82-$90; and 300-400 lbs., $85-$93.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 2,635 cattle sold at the sale held Oct. 21. Butcher steers brought $70-$73, while butcher heifers sold from $68 to $71.50. Age-verified/young cows sold from $36 to $41; D1-D2 cows, $31-$36; D3 cows, $27-$31; shelly cows, $20-$27; and mature bulls, $46-$51.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $78-$86; 800-900 lbs., $83-$90; 700-800 lbs., $85-$92; 600-700 lbs., $88-$97; 500-600 lbs., $94-$104; 400-500 lbs., $100-$113; and 300-400 lbs., $104-$115.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $72 to $80; 800-900 lbs., $77-$84; 700-800 lbs., $77-$85; 600-700 lbs., $78-$85; 500-600 lbs., $80-$93; and 400-500 lbs., $82-$96.

Killarney Auction Mart: There were 1,155 cattle sold at the Oct. 22 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows went from $32 to $36; D3 and D4 cows, $21-$26; and bulls, $45.50-$50.25.

Feeder steers weighing 700-850 lbs. sold from $83 to $89; 500-700 lbs., $100-$110, plain to medium $85-$92; and under 500 lbs., $100-$117, plain to medium $86-$94.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-850 lbs., brought $74-$79; 500-700 lbs., $90-$95, plain to medium $74-$86; and under 500 lbs., $89-$97, plain to medium $76-$81.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 1,189 cattle sold at the sale held on October 19. Included in the sale were 117 slaughter animals and 1,072 feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows sold from $34-$42; D2 cows $25-$31.50; D3 cows $16-$33.75 and bulls $54-$60.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs., fetched $75-$91; 700-800 lbs., $80-$94; 600-700 lbs., $83-$99.50; 500-600 lbs., $92-$112; 400-500 lbs., $97-$119; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$122.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold for $72-$83; 700-800 lbs., $74-$85.50; 600-700 lbs., $77-$87; 500-600 lbs., $82-$98.50; 400-500 lbs., $84-$100; and 300-400 lbs., $88-$104.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,119 cattle were sold at the Oct. 22 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $30 to $39; D3-D4 cows, $20-$32; and bulls, $50-$55.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $75 to $86.50; 800-900 lbs., $80-$89; 700-800 lbs., $83-$92; 600-700 lbs., $85-$100; 500-600 lbs., $95-$111; 400-500 lbs., $103-$119; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$115.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold for $75-$83; 600-700 lbs., $78-$87; 500-600 lbs., $83-$96; 400-500 lbs., $85-$93; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$97.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held Oct. 22 resulted in 110 slaughter cattle and 872 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. traded from $70 to $74.50; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $68-$72.50; D1 and D2 cows, $35-$42; D3 and D5 cows, $25-$35; and good bulls, $48-$55.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $78-$84; 800-900 lbs., $82-$87; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $95-$105; 500-600 lbs., $100-$110; 400-500 lbs., $105-$117; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$119.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $75 to $82; 700-800 lbs., $80-$86; 600-700 lbs., $80-$86; 500-600 lbs., $82-$90; 400-500 lbs., $85-$92; and 300-400 lbs., $92-$97.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 710 head of cattle sold at Tuesday’s sale. Prices for Friday’s sale were unavailable.

In the slaughter market, dry fed cows brought $30-$34; good fleshed, $25-$30; lean, $17-$25; young age verified, $34-$41; and good bulls, $38-$45.

Feeder steers weighing 700-800 lbs. brought $80-$87; 600-700 lbs., $85-$96; 500-600 lbs., $95-$103; 400-500 lbs., $95-$115; and under 400 lbs., up to $126.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. traded from $70 to $78; 600-700 lbs., $78-$86.50; 500-600 lbs., $78-$83; and 400-500 lbs., $82-$92.

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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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