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Fleshy Feeder Cattle Under Pressure

At Manitoba cattle yards during the week ended Feb. 27, prices for slaughter animals were steady to higher while in the feeder market heavy animals, particularly heifers, drew lower prices. Bids for lightweight feeders held steady at most auctions and in some cases firmed. “Numbers were steady this week. We sold just under 2,600,” said Jim MacArthur of the Feb. 25 sale in Virden by Heartland Livestock Services.

Feeder cattle weighing upward of 750 lbs. were selling under pressure but demand for lighter grass cattle was steady, if not stronger compared to the previous week, MacArthur said. Bids for butcher cows and butcher bulls were stronger on the week as well.

MacArthur estimated that roughly 10 per cent of the cattle sold were likely headed out east and another 10 to 15 per cent would probably remain local, while the remainder was most likely headed to destinations in Western Canada and the U. S.

MacArthur’s remarks were echoed by Dave Nickel of Nickel Auctions, who said shortkeep and fleshy feeders were under pressure while bids for grass cattle held steady at the Feb. 24 sale in Gladstone.

RESUME CHALLENGE: CCA

In cattle news, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has called U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s decision to implement the final rule on country-of-origin labelling on March 16 a “positive step” but said Vilsack’s calls for U. S. packers to comply with additional “voluntary” labelling guidelines were causing uncertainty and concern.

“We’ve made it absolutely clear to our American neighbours that we expect them to honour our agreements” under NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, Ritz said.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said the adoption of Vilsack’s guidelines will make COOL more onerous and disruptive than it was under the interim rules and has asked the Canadian government to resume the WTO challenge that was initiated in December 2008 before the final rule was issued.

U. S. SEES WEAKER PRICES

At its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, the United States Department of Agriculture forecast “substantially weaker” U. S. feeder cattle prices through the first three quarters of 2009 before tighter supplies and seasonal demand lift year-over-year values in the fourth quarter.

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: There were 2,533 head of cattle sold at the sale held on Feb. 25. Of the animals sold, 150 were for slaughter while the remaining 2,383 consisted of feeders.

In the slaughter market, older shelly cows sold from $15 and higher; D1 and D2 cows brought $45-$55, while D3 and D5 cows traded from $38 to $45. Good bulls sold from $50 to $62.50.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $80-$98.75; 700-800 lbs., $90-$103.75; 600-700 lbs., $94-$112.75; 500-600 lbs., $99-$120; 400-500 lbs., $105-$126; and 300-400 lbs., $116-$120. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. category brought $74-$87.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$94.50; 600-700 lbs., $80-$106.35; 500-600 lbs., $82-$108.50; 400-500 lbs., $85-$106.50; and 300-400 lbs., $87-$105.

Gladstone Auction Mart: There were 1,274 head of cattle sold at the auction held Feb. 24. Feeder steers weighing between 900 and 1,000 lbs. sold from $70-$92; 800-900 lbs., $75-$93.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$100.50; 600-700 lbs., $85-$111.50; 500-600 lbs., $80-$122.50; 400-500 lbs., $90-$125; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$123. Feeder heifers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight class sold for $68-$79; 800-900 lbs., $65-$84.50; 700-800 lbs., $70-$87; 600-700 lbs., $74-$107.50; 500-600 lbs., $75-$103.50; 400-500 lbs., $75-$108; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$105.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: The Feb. 25 sale saw a total of 856 head of cattle on offer at the Grunthal auction yard. The sale included 227 slaughter animals and 629 feeders. In the slaughter market, age-verified cows traded from $49 to $54.25; mature cows $37-$43; lean cows $25-$35; thin cows $10-$14; and bulls $51.50-$57.50.

Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. class sold from $73 to $85; 700-800 lbs., $80-$91; 600-700 lbs., $82-$95.50; 500-600 lbs., $98-$109; and 400-500 lbs., $109-$121. Feeder steers weighing between 900 and 1,000 lbs. fetched $69-$87; 800-900 lbs., $82-$93.50; 700-800 lbs., $86-$97.50; 600-700 lbs., $95-$107; 500-600 lbs., $104-$117; and 400-500 lbs., $109-$122.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 1,145 cattle on offer at the sale held Feb. 23. Of the cattle on offer, 121 were slaughter animals; the remaining 1,024 were feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows brought $38-$47, D2 cows saw $22-$35 and D3 cows saw sales from $5 to $17. Bulls traded from $55 to $62 and age-verified cows were auctioned off for $48-$60.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $85-$93.25; 700-800 lbs., $92-$108; 600-700 lbs., $99-$116.50; 500-600 lbs., $103-$124; 400-500 lbs., $107-$127.50; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$126. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight category brought $76-$87; 700-800 lbs., $85-$94; 600-700 lbs., $87-$99.25; 500-600 lbs., $88-$103; 400-500 lbs., $90-$105; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$111.50.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart Ltd.: An estimated 1,265 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Feb. 26. Of the animals sold, 89 were for the slaughter market while the remainder were feeders. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows brought $42-$54; D3 cows, $28-$40; and bulls, $56-$65.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., fetched $88-$96; 800-900 lbs., $90-$98; 700-800 lbs., $94-$103; 600-700 lbs., $100-$114; 500-600 lbs., $105-$120; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$124. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight class sold from $80 to $87; 700-800 lbs., $88-$96; 600-700 lbs., $89-$102; 500-600 lbs., $90-$103; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$106.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 2,305 presorted and regular cattle were sold in Brandon Feb. 24. Results from the Feb. 26 auction were not available.

In the slaughter market, D1-D2 cows traded from $40 to $47; butcher steers, $80-$83; and mature bulls, $60-$66.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $85 to $91; 800-900 lbs., $87-$95; 700-800 lbs., $92-$109; 600-700 lbs., $102-115; 500-600 lbs., $108-$119; 400-500 lbs., $112-$120 and 300-400 lbs., $115-$123. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight class saw $80-$87; 700-800 lbs., $82-$92; 600-700 lbs., $85-$97; 500-600 lbs., $90-$99.50; and 400-500 lbs., $92-$100.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were 2,516 head of cattle on offer at the Feb. 25 auction in Virden. In the slaughter market, butcher steers sold from $80 to $84; butcher heifers, $79-$82.50; and age-verified young cows, $47-$53. D1-D2 cows sold from $41 to $47; D3 cows brought $36-$40. Shelly cows traded from $30 to $35 while mature bulls fetched $58-$65.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category sold from $86 to $93.50; 800-900 lbs., $89-$96.75; 700-800 lbs., $93-$108; 600-700 lbs., $100-$113.75; 500-600 lbs., $107-$124; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$124. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $77 to $83; 800-900 lbs., $81-$90.75; 700-800 lbs., $85-$94; 600-700 lbs., $87-$99; 500-600 lbs., $92-$102; and 400-500 lbs., $94-$104.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The Feb. 26 auction saw a total of 632 cattle sold, 82 of which were slaughter cattle and 550 of which were feeders.

In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs. sold from $80 to $84.50; D1 and D2 cows, $45-$50; D3 and D5, $35-$40; good bulls, $60-$70; and age-verified cows, $56-$68.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. saw $87-$93; 800-900 lbs., $90-$97; 700-800 lbs., $95-$104; 600-700 lbs., $100-$112; 500-600 lbs., $105-$115; 400-500 lbs., $110-$122; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$120. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight class saw $80-$87; 700-800 lbs., $85-$90; 600-700 lbs., $88-$95; 500-600 lbs., $90-$102; 400-500 lbs., $90-$106; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$104.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales, Winnipeg: A total of 1,348 cattle were on offer at the Feb. 24 and Feb. 27 sales. In the slaughter market, dry fed cows saw from $35 to $46; good fleshed cows, $30-$39; lean cows, $24-$35; young cows, $47-$59; young age-verified cows, $48-$59; and good bulls, $48-$60.75. Bred cows saw from $725 to $875, with some sales reaching $900.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category sold from $84 to $91.25; 800-900 lbs., $89-$97.50; 700-800 lbs., $92-$100.75; 600-700 lbs., $98-$105; and 500-600 lbs., $108-$122. Feeder heifers in the 700-to 800-lb. weight class sold from $88 to $95.50; 600-700 lbs., $90-$100; 500-600 lbs., $95-$105; and 400-500 lbs., $95-$111.

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