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New COOL Concerns Not Impacting Prices

Mild weather and strong demand made for steady to aggressive pricing at most auction yards in Manitoba during the week ended March 6. There was an active market for slaughter cows and bulls, with prices fully steady to higher compared to the previous week’s bids. Grass-weight cattle were in strong demand again, with some auction managers describing the market as “very aggressive” and noting gains ranging from $2 to $9 per hundredweight (cwt). The market for eight-and nine-weight feeder animals was active as well.

“They’ve had big runs in the northern area of the province this week, some of which is carryover from the last few weeks. In the south end of the province, the numbers that are coming to town are probably lower than seasonal,” said Rick Wright, livestock order buyer and cattle broker for Cattlex Ltd. at Hamiota.

Demand from Ontario and Quebec contributed to the solid prices seen through the ring. With fewer feeders available out east and very strong prices in Ontario recently, buyers have been looking to source feeders from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Wright said.

New concerns about U. S. country-of-origin-labelling (COOL), this time regarding additional voluntary labelling guidelines, had “absolutely no” effect on prices, Wright observed. It’s unclear what changes, if any, will be made to the legislation by U. S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and any eventual changes would not be made for months.

“The customers that we deal with and the flow that I’m seeing to the south has not been hindered at all. The U. S.-Canadian dollar exchange rate will dictate how many cattle go across the line,” Wright said.

A smaller number of open placements on U. S. feedlots is also probably having more of a general impact on prices than COOL is, he said. Feedlots south of the line are holding onto their fat cattle longer right now because the U. S. finishing market is currently not very strong, he explained.

Looking ahead, prices for grass cattle should get stronger and stronger until spring, said Wright. “For the rest of the cattle, as long as they don’t get fleshy and provided we don’t get a big swing in the dollar, they’re going to be very steady,” he predicted.

Lower feed prices are encouraging more buying this spring, Wright said. Whereas last year the problem was sourcing and paying for feed, this year feed acquisition is a much smaller part of the price formula. “Right now it is more an issue of finding a source for the cattle and finding a place where you can sell them out the back door,” Wright said.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

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

Ashern Livestock Mart: There were 2,493 head of cattle sold at the sale held March 4. Of those, 150 were for slaughter while the remaining 2,343 were feeders.

In the slaughter market, older shelly cows sold from $10 and higher; D1 and D2 cows brought $50-$58, while D3 and D5 cows traded from $40 to $50. Good bulls sold from $56 to $64.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $85 to $102.75; 700-800 lbs., $90-$107.75; 600-700 lbs., $100-$118.50; 500-600 lbs., $106-$131.50; 400-500 lbs., $110-$128.75; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$126.50. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight category brought $79-$92.25; 700-800 lbs., $79-$98.75; 600-700 lbs., $90-$107.50; 500-600 lbs., $90-$112; and 400-500 lbs., $95-$110.

Gladstone Auction Mart: At the sale held March 3, feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $85 to $94.50; 800-900 lbs., $85-$104; 700-800 lbs., $90-$107; 600-700 lbs., $90-$121; 500-600 lbs., $85-$129; 400-500 lbs., $95-$129; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$122. Bulls sold from $40 to $64. Feeder heifers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight class sold for $74 to $83.50; 800-900 lbs., $70-$88.50; 700-800 lbs., $75-$99; 600-700 lbs., $76-$105; 500-600 lbs., $75-$107; 400-500 lbs., $75-$107; and 300-400 lbs., $91-$108.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: The March 4 sale saw a total of 580 head of cattle on offer at the Grunthal auction yard. The sale included 137 slaughter animals and 443 feeders.

In the slaughter market, age-verified cows traded from $52 to $58; mature, good fleshed cows, $40-$51; lean cows, $23-$36; young bulls, $56-$64; and mature bulls, $49.50-$55.

Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight class sold from $78 to $90.50; 700-800 lbs., $81-$96; 600-700 lbs., $82-$103; 500-600 lbs., $98-$112; 400-500 lbs., $93-$115; and under 400 lbs., $96-$105. Feeder steers weighing between 800 and 900 lbs. fetched $84-$95.50; 700-800 lbs., $90-$101.75; 600-700 lbs., $98-$111; 500-600 lbs., $104-$123; and 400-500 lbs., $108-$124.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 644 cattle on offer at the sale held March 2, down considerably from the previous week. Of the cattle on offer, 75 were slaughter animals while the remaining 569 were feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows brought $39-$49.25, D2 cows $26-$37 and D3 cows $13-$22.

Feeder steers weighing over 900 lbs. traded from $83 to $91.75; 800-900 lbs., $84-$95; 700-800 lbs., $90-$102.50; 600-700 lbs., $94-$114.50; 500-600 lbs., $97-$118; and 400-500 lbs., $102-$122.50. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. category brought $77-$87.50; 700-800 lbs., $85-$93.75; 600-700 lbs., $87-$98; 500-600 lbs., $88-$106; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$108.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: An estimated 2,322 head of cattle were sold at the sale held March 5. Of the animals sold, 202 were for the slaughter market while the remainder were feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows brought $43-$56; D3 cows, $30-$42; and bulls, $65-$73.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. fetched $88-$96; 800-900 lbs., $93-$102; 700-800 lbs., $90-$106; 600-700 lbs., $100-$116; 500-600 lbs., $105-$122; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$127. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $80 to $89.50; 800-900 lbs., $83-$93; 700-800 lbs., $90-$102; 600-700 lbs., $90-$105; 500-600 lbs., $90-$105; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$107.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 1,064 cattle were sold in Brandon at the sale held March 3.

In the slaughter market, D1-D2 cows saw $42-$52; D3 cows, $35-$42; shelly cows, $15-$35; and good bulls, $60-$65.75.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $88 to $91.75; 800-900 lbs., $90-$98.75; 700-800 lbs., $95-$105; 600-700 lbs., $102-115; 500-600 lbs., $110-$125.50; 400-500 lbs., $112-$126; and 300-400 lbs., $115-$132. Feeder heifers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category saw $80-$85; 800-900 lbs., $84-$94; 700-800 lbs., $88-$95.50; 600-700 lbs., $95-$104; 500-600 lbs., $95-$107.25; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$108.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were 1,748 head of cattle on offer at the March 4 auction, compared to 2,516 the week earlier.

In the slaughter market, butcher steers sold from $81 to $85.25; butcher heifers, $80-$84.25; and age-verified/young cows, $49-$55. D1-D2 cows sold from $45 to $52; D3 cows, $39-$44; shelly cows, $33-$38; and mature bulls, $59-$67.75.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category sold from $88-$95.25; 800-900 lbs., $91-$98.75; 700-800 lbs., $94-$108; 600-700 lbs., $100-$115.50; 500-600 lbs., $108-$128 and 400-500 lbs., $110-$129. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., sold from $77 to $83; 800-900 lbs., $82-$92; 700-800 lbs., $86-$94; 600-700 lbs., $89-$103; 500-600 lbs., $97-$105; and 400-500 lbs., from $97 to $106.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The March 5 auction in Melita saw a total of 944 cattle sold, 225 of which were slaughter cattle and 719 of which were feeders.

In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs., sold from $82 to $85.50; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs. sold from $81 to $84; D1 and D2 cows, $45-$57; D3 and D5, $40-$47; good bulls, $65-$71.50; and age-verified cows, $55-$60.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., saw $82-$94; 800-900 lbs., $85-$96; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $94-$107; 500-600 lbs., $105-$112; 400-500 lbs., $110-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $115-$124. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight class saw $80-$92; 700-800 lbs., $85-$94; 600-700 lbs., $88-$98; 500-600 lbs., $90-$104; 400-500 lbs., $95-$106; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$108.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: A total of 1,131 cattle were on offer at sales held March 3 and March 6 in Winnipeg.

In the slaughter market, dry fed cows saw $41-$48; good fleshed cows, $36-$44; lean cows, $30-$39; young cows, $47-$58.50; and good bulls, $48-$62.

Feeder steers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight category sold from $90 to $98; 700-800 lbs., $96-$104.50; 600-700 lbs., $97-$114.50; 500-600 lbs., $104-$124; and 400-500 lbs., $109-$124. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. class sold from $84 to $90; 700-800 lbs., $92-$99; 600-700 lbs., $94-$104.75; 500-600 lbs., $99-$108.25; and 400-500 lbs., $98-$109.

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