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Glen Nicoll – for Apr. 2, 2009

If the recession-affected consumer is looking at the specials in the meat cooler, they had the choice of smoked pork shoulder for $1, ground beef for $1.99, pork loin chops for $2.97 and outside round roast for $2.97. T-bones and chicken breasts were side by side, each at $6.99. The pork business has been improving. They have a 40 per cent gross raise from a year ago but it’s more like the lowered feed cost has moved them over to the profitable side of the ledger. The national sow herd has come down 10 per cent to help shore up the supply question and the American breeding herd is down four per cent.


We were back on the hard stuff in the front row of fir planks in Winnipeg last Friday for their 500-head offering. Cows made up just under 50 head and 7-weight steers had the largest volume making up about a quarter of the sale.


Grasser demand was about as hot as the front row would let it go for customers in the east and south. There weren’t any producers from the bleachers adding their input to get the light steers trading with 55 per cent over $1.20 followed by the 31 per cent in the dollar-teens and 14 per cent under $1.10.

The toppers were a little bunch of 435-lb. Angus-Xs in both colours at $1.34 ($583 per head.) The black ones weighing 485 lbs. brought $1.23 ($596 )and the multi-colour 423-lb. group garnered $1.04 on a litttle too much flesh ($440). Health concerns held the rough 420-lb. Char-Simms at 95 cents ($399) and concern about how robust the little 343-lb. Char-Simms were, limited them to 85 cents ($291).

Five-weight steers settled with 46 per cent over $1.20, 28 per cent over $1.10 and 26 per cent under $1.10. At the height of $1.30 were the age-verified 515-lb. Angus-Xs in red and black as well as Char-Simms ($669). They were followed by 588-lb. Angus-Xs at $1.24 ($729) and the 573-lb. Herf-Simms or red-white-faces at $1.10 ($630). When the colour went to black and white for the 575-lb. Holstein it was a 52-cent final bid ($299).

Little heifers had an eyeball average bid at the buck coming from the peak of $1.11 for the 489-lb. Angus-Xs ($543) and going by the 425-lb. Simm-Gelbviehs at 95 cents ($404) and the lowest end of the range was 80 cents for the 318-lb. Simms ($254). Heifers at 5s hit $1.13 at the peak for some 538-lb. Char-Simms headlining the top third over $1.10. The middle third over the buck contained the 540-lb. black baldies at a buck-six ($572) and the 500-lb. smokey-Simm with the rat tail stopped at 85 cents.($425).

Dividing steers at 6s at the $1.10 mark had 62 per cent on the high side and 34 per cent under $1.10. The nodding ended at $1.19 for the green 628-lb. black baldies, and Herf-Simms ($747) while the 665-lb. Angus-Simms sold for $1.07 ($711) A frozen ear on the 675-lb. Char-Simm stalled him at 99 cents ($668). Alberta 6s had a $1.16 average as did the Nebraska 6s, but Ontario buyers were paying $1.19 on average. On the page of Winnipeg, 7-weight steers there was 78 per cent above the buck, 22 per cent under. A half-ring of 736-lb. Angus-Simms were sent to the peak of $1.10 ($809), a green 710-lb. Char-Simm settled at $1.08 ($767), a group of coarse 789-lb. Gelbvieh-Xs got to 96 cents ($757) and the 785-lb. Angus-Simm bull brought 51 cents ($400).

Heifers at 6s in Winnipeg sold with 23 per cent above $1.10 and 30 per cent over the dollar and the other 45 per cent were within a dime under that mark. Bidding peaked at $1.12 for the 648-lb. Red Angus-Xs ($726) and with the weight to 675 lbs., the black and baldies brought $1.04 ($702) and the 695-lb. Angus-X and Salers-X sold for 91 cents ($632). Out west, heifers at 6s averged $1.02 and out east it was a $1.08 average. In Nebraska, the average of feeder types and replacement types was US 98-cents (C$1.17). A half-page of Winnipeg 7-weight heifers had 37 per cent at or just above the buck. Age-verified blacks and tans at 761 lbs. were bid up to $1.08 ($822), the 790-lb. Char-Simms stayed in the ring until 95 cents ($750), and the short 780-lb. Red Angus were held at 88 cents ($686).


On the Winnipeg 8-weight steers, I would go with a 98-cent average as 32 per cent sold above the buck and 68 per cent were under. On top were the 845-lb. Angus-Simms at $1.03 ($870) in front of the 842-lb. Char-Xs at $1.01 ($850) and some 835-lb. Simms sold at 96 cents ($801). Coarse 885-lb. Char-Xs were kept at 80 cents ($708) and the 820-lb. Red Angus-X bull brought 73 cents ($598). Nines were nailed down in the 90s, coming from a peak of 97 cents for the 913-lb. Chars ($883).

It was 92 cents for the 981-lb. Gelbviehs ($902) and a frozen ear on top of the coarse heads held the 955-lb. Char-Xs to 84 cents ($802). Bigger steers had the blacks at 1014 lbs. selling for 94 cents (953), 1045-lb. reds sold for 88 cents ($919) and the dairy discount came on for the 1145-lb. Holstein holding him to 56 cents ($641). The bunch of 945-lb. Brown Swiss brought 51 cents ($482).


Manitoba fats were topping in the auction rings at 87 cents. Alberta packers had upped the average to 95 cents Canfax reports, which works up to $1.61 rail. Feedlots have been able to push the packers with short showlists, as they are quite current. Ontario continued to lead the way as their heifers averaged 97 cents and the steers averaged 96 cents.

Across the line, the fats were reported at U. S. $1.33 (C$1.59) on the rail and 83 cents live.

Mature cows and bulls in Winnipeg had 49 per cent around the 50-cent mark especially if the auctioneer was reading the age certificates. A ringful of age-verfied 1624-lb., Char-Xs came to a 56 cent conclusion ($909) the fleshy 1660-lb. Char brought 52 cents ($863). A little more age and less condition kept the trio of 1465-lb. Red Angus-Simms at 46 cents ($574). A 1435-lb. Holstein had 46 cents as a final bid ($660). A 1370-lb. Char Simm showed a little hip and hit 39 cents ($534), a question of health status kept a 1225-lb. Herf at 21 cents and the skinny pair of 1014-lb. Red Angus-X stalled at 15 cents ($152).

The bull lineup had the 2190-lb. Herf at 60 cents ($1314).

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