Herd Downsizing Seen Ending; Don’t Wait For Upsizing

The marketing of cattle in Manitoba during the week ended June 3 began to resemble more typical levels with a few auction yards that had been closed due to flood concerns coming back online. Prices for cows continued to hold strong while values for the other animals held steady if not a bit lower.

However, with producers now able to turn their cattle onto pastures in most locations across the province, the summer slowdown at the various auction marts was looming fast.

The summer schedule for the auction marts was seen beginning over the next couple of weeks.

“The demand for cows continues to be strong and there do not seem to be any signs of that interest letting up soon,” said Herb Lock, a livestock analyst with FarmSense Marketing in Calgary.

The need of packers to mix lean cow meat in with fat carcasses of steers and heifers continues to be strong, he said. The 15 to 20 per cent decline in cow numbers in Canada, combined with strong consumer demand for hamburgers

during the barbecue season, continues to inflate the values for these animals.

“As long as cows add to the value of steers, prices will continue to remain firm,” Lock said.

It’s still a little early to think producers in Western Canada are ready to increase the size of cow herds, he said. “The industry has certainly added a few more heifers in with bulls, but that does not necessarily mean that those animals won’t end up in the slaughter market instead.

“To increase the cow herd will take at least about three years and I don’t think producers are ready for that step yet.”

However, Lock felt the downsizing of the herds is pretty much done. He acknowledged demand from packers has been strong, as those companies try to keep their operations running at about 75 to 80 per cent of their capacity in order to stay profitable.

“This will be good for the producers in the short term, but longer term that could result in some further downsizing of (an) already small packer group,” he cautioned.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

Note:AllpricesinCanadian dollarsperhundredweight. Thesepricesalsogenerally

representthetopone-thirdof salesreportedbytheauction yard.

Ashern Livestock Mart:An estimated 442 head of cattle were sold at the sale held June 1. Included in the sale were 200 slaughter cattle and 242 feeders. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows sold anywhere from $62 to $68; D3 and D4 cows, $50 to $55; age verified, $70-$80; and good bulls, $70-$94.

Feeder steers weighing 700- 800 lbs. sold from $95 to $114; 600-700 lbs., $100-$123; 500- 600 lbs., $120-$143.50; and 400-500 lbs., $130-$144.50. Feeder heifers weighing 700- 800 lbs. traded from $92 to $112; 600-700 lbs., $95-$119; 500-600 lbs., $105-$125.50; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$127.

Gladstone Auction Mart: There were 311 cattle sold at the auction held on May 31. In the slaughter market, cows traded from $40 to $73 while bulls brought $75-$86.

Feeder steers in the 800-to 900-lb. category fetched $105- $120.25; 700-800 lbs., $100- $129.75; 600-700 lbs., $100- $142.50; 500-600 lbs., $100- $137; 400-500 lbs., $110-$145; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$139.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $95 to $111; 700-800 lbs., $90-

$109; 600-700 lbs., $80-$125; 500-600 lbs., $90-$135; 400- 500 lbs., $90-$134; and 300- 400 lbs., $115-$122.50.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart:There were 69 slaughter cattle and 96 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard on June 1. In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows fetched $61-$67; lean export cows, $59-$63; mature cows, $59-$62; and export bulls, $82-$87.25.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. traded from $100 to $111; 600-700 lbs., $110- $121; 500-600 lbs., $115-$124; and 400-500 lbs., $115-$119. Feeder steers weighing 700- 800 lbs. fetched $107-$115; 600-700 lbs., $115-$125; 500- 600 lbs., $120-$136.50; and 400-500 lbs., $120-$135.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon:A total of 305 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the sale held on May 31. A1-A2 steers traded from $92 to $94.50; A1-A2 heifers, $90-$93.50; D1-D2 cows, $70-$75; D3 cows, $63-$69; shelly cows, $52-$62; and good bulls, $85-$89.25.

Feeder steers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold from $112 to $126; 600-700 lbs., $120-$139; 500-600 lbs. , $130-$153; and 400-500 lbs., $140-$155.75. Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $98-$105; 700-800 lbs., $100-$109; 600-700 lbs., $110-$130; 500-600 lbs. , $115-$131; and 400-500 lbs., $118-$135.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden:At the sale held on June 1, 385 head of cattle were marketed. In the slaughter market, butcher steers brought $89-$94 while butcher heifers fetched $88- $93.25. Age-verified young cows traded from $68 to $73 with sales to $74. D1-D2 cows traded at $67-$72; D3 cows, $61-$66; young grass cows, $70-$82; and mature bulls, $85-$90.75.

Feeder steers weighing 800- 900 lbs. traded from $100 to $112; 700-800 lbs., $114-$131; 600-700 lbs., $125-$147; 500- 600 lbs., $128-$150; and 400- 500 lbs., $130-$152. Feeder heifers in the 900-to 1,000- lb. category brought $90-$99; 800-900 lbs., $95-$108; 700- 800 lbs., $105-$117; 600-700 lbs., $112-$127; 500-600 lbs., $117-$129; and 400-500 lbs., $120-$135.

Killarney Auction Mart:No sale results were available.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart:A total of 302 cattle were sold at the June 2 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $68 to $76; D3 and D4 cows, $55-$68; canners, $35- $54; slaughter bulls, $88-$99.25; and medium bulls, $80-$87.

Feeder steers weighing 600-700 lbs. fetched $126-$138; and 500-600 lbs., $144-$150. Feeder heifers weighing 600- 700 lbs. brought $114-$120; 500-600 lbs., $120-$131.50; and 400-500 lbs., $125-$134.

Taylor Auctions, Melita:The sale held on June 2 resulted in 85 slaughter cattle and 43 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1-A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. sold from $91 to $92.50; A1-A2 heifers over 850 lbs. traded from $88-$95.75; D1 and D2 cows, $62-$74; D3 and D5 cows, $52-$62; and good bulls, $80-$92.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900- 1,000 lbs. brought $98-$112; 800-900 lbs., $106-$118.50; 700-800 lbs., $110-$127; 600- 700 lbs., $114-$133; 500-600 lbs., $117-$138; 400-500 lbs., $123-$140; and 300-400 lbs., $125-$145.

Feeder heifers weighing 800- 900 lbs. traded from $100 to $114; 700-800 lbs., $108-$122; 600-700 lbs., $110-$124.50; 500-600 lbs., $114-$127; 400- 500 lbs., $120-$134; and 300- 400 lbs., $120-$142.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were a total of 470 head of cattle sold at the auction held on June 3, of which 250 were for the slaughter sector and 220 were feeders. In the slaughter market, dry fed cows brought $66-$69; good fleshed cows, $59-$66; lean cows, $53- $59; young age verified, $58- $73; and good bulls, $78-$93.

Feeder steers weighing 700- 800 lbs. sold from $115 to $122; 600-700 lbs., $125-$140; and 500-600 lbs., $125-$140. Feeder heifers in the 700-to 800-lb. category brought $100-$112; 600-700 lbs., $108- $125; and 500-600 lbs., $110- $126.50.

———

– Herb Lock, Farmsense Marketing

Toincreasethecowherdwilltakeat leastaboutthreeyearsandIdon’tthink producersarereadyforthatstepyet.”

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