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Frustration Begets Liquidation

The numb er of producers marketing cattle at the auction yards in Manitoba during the week ended Feb. 19 picked up from the previous week’s level. Values for the various classes of cattle managed to hold steady, although prices for the top-quality animals at some locations were a bit stronger.

“We again saw some pretty good demand for the cattle that were marketed this week,” said Keith Cleaver, manager of Heartland Livestock Services at Brandon.

The demand, he indicated, came from packers in both Western and Eastern Canada. “They were looking for good-quality steers as well as slaughter cows,” he said.

Some of the interest was said to be in replenishing spent stocks as well as in anticipation of potential cow shortages down the road. Some limited interest was also evident for age-verified slaughter cows from U. S. outlets during the week.

Cattle inventories on Canadian farms were at their lowest levels in 15 years, as of Jan. 1, 2010, according to the latest survey from Statistics Canada released Feb. 16.

Canadian cattle producers reported total cattle inventories of 13.015 million head, as of January 1, a 1.3 per cent reduction from the 13.18 million head reported at the same time the previous year.

The decline in the cattle herd was said to be reflecting a number of factors, including market uncertainty and rising input costs, the government agency said.

StatsCan also said Canada’s slaughter herd declined by 1.4 per cent from the previous year, while the dairy herd was down by 0.2 per cent.

Cleaver felt the liquidation of the cattle herd by producers would likely continue given the level of frustration with values that are available.

“There is a percentage of cattle producers who are fed up with the price they have been getting, and because of that some further herd liquidation is likely,” he said.

Strength in the Canadian dollar also continues to hinder the values producers receive for their cattle, Cleaver said.

The Canadian dollar finished at US96.07 cents on Feb. 19. The rest of the week the Canadian currency had traded between US95.09 cents and US95.96 cents.

Financial analysts continue to expect the Canadian currency to move to par with the U. S. dollar before the middle of 2010 and possibly to a slightly stronger level.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

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

Ashern Livestock Mart: An estimated 1,818 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Feb. 17. In the slaughter market, age-verified D1 and D2 cows traded from $52 to $63.25; D3 and D5 cows, $42-$48; and good bulls, $55-$66.

Feeder steers weighing 700-800 lbs. ranged from $95 to $106.75; 600-700 lbs., $100-$113.50; 500-600 lbs., $103-$120; and 400-500 lbs., $105-$120.50.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. brought $80-$94; 600-700 lbs., $85-$99.85; 500-600 lbs., $92-$103; and 400-500 lbs., $96-$105.25.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Feb. 16 sale saw a total of 1,326 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $50 to $60.75 while cows brought $25-$45, with age verified up to $57.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $77 to $92; 800-900 lbs., $75-$97; 700-800 lbs., $80-$103.50; 600-700 lbs., $85-$114; 500-600 lbs., $90-$119; 400-500 lbs., $100-$123.50; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $65 to $85.50; 800-900 lbs., $75-$89.25; 700-800 lbs., $75-$93.25; 600-700 lbs., $80-$102.50; 500-600 lbs., $85-$106.25; 400-500 lbs., $90-$107; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$106.50.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 122 slaughter cattle and 819 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard on Feb. 17.

In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows traded from $49 to $54.50; lean export cows, $45-$50; mature cows, $38-$44; feeding cows, $45-$52; export bulls, $58-$65.25; and mature bulls, $50-$55.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $75 to $86.75; 700-800 lbs., $83-$90.25; 600-700 lbs., $87-$93; 500-600 lbs., $92-$108; 400-500 lbs., $107-$115; and under 400 lbs., $100-$108.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $86-$93.50; 700-800 lbs., $90-$96.25; 600-700 lbs., $95-$105; 500-600 lbs., $104-$116.50; 400-500 lbs., $110-$124.50 and under 400 lbs., $110-$120.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 1,500 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded from $76 to $79; A1-A2 heifers, $75-$78.75; D1-D2 cows, $38-$46, with age verified $47-$54; D3 cows, $32-$37; shelly cows, $20-$31; and good bulls $62-$66.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $85 to $91; 800-900 lbs., $90-$95.50; 700-800 lbs., $95-$104; 600-700 lbs., $98-$109; 500-600 lbs., $110-$120; 400-500 lbs., $112-$127.50; and 300-400 lbs., $115-$126.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $75-$80.50; 800-900 lbs., $80-$88; 700-800 lbs., $85-$94.50; 600-700 lbs., $88-$97.50; 500-600 lbs., $90-$102; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$108.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 2,446 cattle sold at the sale held Feb.

17. Butcher steers brought $72-$76.75 while butcher heifers sold from $71 to $75.50. Age-verified/ young cows sold from $48 to $54; 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 $84-$92; 800-900 lbs., $89-$95.50; 700-800 lbs., $92-$103; 600-700 lbs., $97-$111; 500-600 lbs., $105-$114; 400-500 lbs., $110-$124 and 300-400 lbs., $110-$128.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $76 to $82; 800-900 lbs., $79-$87.75; 700-800 lbs., $84-$93; 600-700 lbs., $86-$98; 500-600 lbs., $90-$102.50; and 400-500 lbs., $93-$103.

Killarney Auction Mart: There were 761 cattle sold at the Feb. 18 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows went from $41 to $50 and D3 and D4 cows, $30-$38.

Feeder steers weighing 700-850 lbs. sold from $93 to $100, plain to medium $84-$88; 500-700 lbs., $113-$119, plain to medium $94-$100; and under 500 lbs., $113-$120, plain to medium $102-$108.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-850 lbs., brought $86-$93; 500-700 lbs., $97-$102, plain to medium $80-$86; and under 500 lbs., $90-$101.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 186 cattle sold at the sale held Feb. 15. Included in the sale were 59 slaughter animals and 127 feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows sold from $44 to $49; D2 cows, $36-$41; and D3 cows, $11-$23.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. fetched $86-$98; 700-800 lbs., $89-$102; 600-700 lbs., $93-$106; 500-600 lbs., $100-$120; and 400-500 lbs., $108-$126.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold for $72-$85; 700-800 lbs., $76-$93; 600-700 lbs., $78-$97.50; 500-600 lbs., $82-$100 and 400-500 lbs., $87-$102.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,798 cattle were sold at the Feb. 18 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $40 to $48; D3-D4 cows, $30-$39; and bulls, $60-$67.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $86 to $92.50; 800-900 lbs., $88-$97; 700-800 lbs., $95-$106.50; 600-700 lbs., $100-$110; 500-600 lbs., $110-$122; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$128.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. fetched $83-$91; 700-800 lbs., $88-$98; 600-700 lbs., $90-$100; 500-600 lbs., $90-$104; and 400-500 lbs., $95-$108.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held Feb. 18 resulted in 100 slaughter cattle and 434 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. brought $74-$77.50; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $72-$77; D1 and D2 cows, $45-$55; D3 and D5 cows, $35-$45; and good bulls, $60-$67.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $85-$90; 800-900 lbs., $90-$98; 700-800 lbs., $95-$104; 600-700 lbs., $100-$108; 500-600 lbs., $105-$118; 400-500 lbs., $108-$122; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $82 to $88; 700-800 lbs., $88-$94; 600-700 lbs., $90-$98; 500-600 lbs., $95-$104; 400-500 lbs., $100-$108; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$110.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 167 head of cattle sold during the week ending Feb. 19. In the slaughter market, dry fed cows traded at $40-$43; good fleshed, $36-$40; lean, $24-$36; young age verified, $37-$53.25; and good bulls, $46-$52.25.

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