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Pre-Holiday Cattle Run Reaches Peak

Ca t t l e auction yards across Manitoba were busy during the week ended Dec. 11, as producers worked hard to make sales before the upcoming Christmas break, despite the frigid temperatures.

Buddy Bergner of Ashern Livestock Mart was especially busy during the week, with nearly 4,000 cattle moving through the yard. Feeder cattle were coming from all corners of the province to be sold at the central Interlake location, he said. “We get cattle from Swan River, The Pas, Elie, all over the place.

“We’ve been busy, really busy,” and most of the cattle were going to eastern feedlots, he said. “There seems to be a lot of feed out there, so they’re taking another go at it.”

Some feeder animals also continue to move to western feedlots, although trade to the U. S. remains stagnant.

Feeder cattle prices weren’t seeing much movement, Bergner said, with quality still bringing a premium, while plainer animals are discounted.

“A lot of farmers say they got what they expected,” he said. While prices are still not as high as producers would like to see, he noted it could be worse.

The cull cow market also held reasonably steady during the week, with prices in the $30-to $40-per-cwt area, which Bergner thought was a reasonable price. However, he noted, the number of cull cows being sold is down from the previous year.

With the large numbers moved in recent weeks, the cattle run should have hit its peak, and numbers will now slow down in the last week before the Christmas break. Most auction yards will hold their final sales of the year during the week ending Dec. 18, before reopening in January.

Activity in the Canadian dollar often provides some direction for Manitoba cattle prices. The currency had a busy week, bouncing sharply higher at one point, but eventually retreating to be slightly weaker on the week.

Finished cattle prices in Alberta also had a mixed week, although average prices were down by $1 to $2 per hundredweight, according to CanFax data.

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 3,900 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Dec. 9. In the slaughter market, age-verified D1 and D2 cows traded from $40 to $48; D3 and D5 cows, $30-$40; older shelly cows, $28 and up; and good bulls, $45-$61.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. ranged from $80 to $91.25; 700-800 lbs., $85-$97; 600-700 lbs., $95-$108.75; 500-600 lbs., $99-$117; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$120.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded at $75-$82.75; 700-800 lbs., $70-$87.50; 600-700 lbs., $77-$91.75; 500-600 lbs., $79-$97.25; and 400-500 lbs., $80-$98.25.

Ashern will be closed for the holidays from mid-December to mid-January.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Dec. 8 sale saw a total of 1,420 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $40 to $49 while cows brought $15-$35. Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. category traded from $65 to $80; 800-900 lbs., $70-$88.25; 700-800 lbs., $70-$96; 600-700 lbs., $80-$103; 500-600 lbs., $85-$114; 400-500 lbs., $90-$120; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$131.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $60 to $75; 800-900 lbs., $60-$75.50; 700-800 lbs., $70-$83; 600-700 lbs., $70-$87.50; 500-600 lbs., $75-$97; 400-500 lbs., $75-$100; and 300-400 lbs., $80-$107.

The last sale of the year will be held Dec. 15; the first sale of the new year will be Jan. 12.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 203 slaughter cattle and 350 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard Dec. 9. In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows traded from $40 to $44.50; lean export cows, $35-$40; mature cows, $27-$35; feeding cows, $40-$46; export bulls, $50-$54; and mature bulls, $40-$48.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $70 to $75.75; 700-800 lbs., $75-$80; 600-700 lbs., $84-$96; 500-600 lbs., $90-$103; 400-500 lbs., $95-$105; and under 400 lbs., $100-$109.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $78 to $84; 700-800 lbs., $84-$90; 600-700 lbs., $91-$103; 500-600 lbs., $100-$113; 400-500 lbs., $106-$119.50; and under 400 lbs., $110-$120.50.

The last sale of the year will be Dec. 23; the first sale in the new year will be Jan. 13.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 1,415 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded from $70 to $72; A1-A2 heifers, $68-$70; D1-D2 cows, $29-$35, age-verified $36-$46.75; feeder cows $24-$29; shells $15-$23; and good bulls, $45-$54.75.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $80 to $85; 800-900 lbs., $85-$93; 700-800 lbs., $90-$103; 600-700 lbs., $95-$103.25; 500-600 lbs., $100-$115.50; 400-500 lbs., $105-$125; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$135.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $78 to $81; 700-800 lbs., $78-$85; 600-700 lbs., $79-$86; 500-600 lbs., $85-$96.25; and 400-500 lbs., $88-$102.50.

The last sale of the year will be Dec. 21; the first sale in the new year will be Jan. 5.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 2,032 cattle sold at the sale held Dec. 9.

Butcher steers brought $70-$74 while butcher heifers sold from $69 to $73. Age verified/young cows sold from $36 to $44; D1-D2 cows, $29-$36; D3 cows, $26-$29; shelly cows, $22-$26; and mature bulls, $47-$55.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $83-$89; 800-900 lbs., $84-$91; 700-800 lbs., $87-$98; 600-700 lbs., $90-$100; 500-600 lbs., $98-$110; 400-500 lbs., $110-$125; and 300-400 lbs., $116-$136.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $73 to $81; 800-900 lbs., $77-$83; 700-800 lbs., $77-$85; 600-700 lbs., $78-$88; 500-600 lbs., $83-$95; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$102.

Virden’s yard will be closed Dec. 20 to Jan. 6.

Killarney Auction Mart: There were 876 cattle sold at the Dec. 10 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows went from $30 to $37; D3 and D4 cows, $16-$24; and bulls, $42-$54.25.

Feeder steers weighing 700-850 lbs. sold from $80 to $87; 500-700 lbs., $99-$110, plain to medium $80-$85; and under 500 lbs., $122-$135, plain to medium $99-$116.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-850 lbs. brought $77-$79; 500-700 lbs., $86-$90, plain to medium $73-$80; and under 500 lbs., $90-$96, plain to medium $73-$82.

The last sale will be held Dec. 17; the first sale of the new year will be Jan. 14.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 988 cattle sold at the sale held Dec. 7. Included in the sale were 102 slaughter animals and 886 feeders.

In the slaughter market, age verified sold from $35 to $41; D1 cows, $30-$34; D2 cows, $25-$29; D3 cows, $15-$24; and bulls, $30-$53.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. fetched $84-$94; 700-800 lbs., $87-$98; 600-700 lbs., $90-$102.50; 500-600 lbs., $96-$118; 400-500 lbs., $105-$124.50; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$126.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $70-$81.50; 700-800 lbs., $75-$83; 600-700 lbs., $78-$87; 500-600 lbs., $82-$94.50; 400-500 lbs., $85-$97; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$104.

Pipestone will hold its last sale of the year Dec. 14 and its first sale of 2010 on Jan. 11.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,716 cattle were sold at the Dec. 10 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $30 to $35; D3-D4 cows, $18-$27; and bulls, $45-$52.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $70 to $88; 800-900 lbs., $85-$92.75; 700-800 lbs., $88-$95; 600-700 lbs., $95-$106; 500-600 lbs., $97-$111; 400-500 lbs., $100-$129; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$129.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $75-$85; 700-800 lbs., $77-$86; 600-700 lbs., $82-$90; 500-600 lbs., $85-$94; 400-500 lbs., $88-$100; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$106.

The last sale of the year will be Dec. 17; the first sale of 2010 will be Jan. 14.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The Dec. 10 sale resulted in 160 slaughter cattle and 694 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. brought $70-$74.50; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $68-$72.50; D1 and D2 cows, $35-$44; D3 and D5 cows, $25-$35; and good bulls, $45-$53.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $82-$88; 800-900 lbs., $85-$92; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $95-$104; 500-600 lbs., $100-$112; 400-500 lbs., $105-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $75 to $82; 700-800 lbs., $78-$85; 600-700 lbs., $82-$88; 500-600 lbs., $85-$92; 400-500 lbs., $90-$100; and 300-400 lbs., $95-$110.

The last regular sale of the year will be Dec. 17; the opening date in the new year will be Jan. 14.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: Results are unavailable for the week. The last sale of the year will be Dec. 18; the first sale of 2010 will be Jan. 5.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin - MarketsFarm

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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