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Price Spread Between Cows, Hamburger Seen Widening

Cattle values in Ma n i -toba held reasonably steady during the week ended Nov. 6, with prices not seeing much movement one way or the other. Poor slaughter cattle values continued to weigh on the market overall.

Fred Tait, a Manitoba cattle rancher and National Farmers Union board member, said the frustrating thing about the current market was that the low cattle prices are telling producers that they are oversupplying the market. However, on the retail side, prices are high, so the retail side is telling consumers that there’s a shortage.

He noted cull cows are currently priced around 30 cents per pound, while hamburger at the store retails for around $3.25/lb. That spread was at a historical high, he said, and compares to a more traditional margin of about $1.25.

Tait thought increased local processing, and a greater emphasis on meeting domestic demand rather than export markets, could help improve the cattle market for those producers who don’t exit it completely.

He thought the announcement that the federal government would loan up to $10 million to Keystone Processors in Winnipeg, and that the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council would invest an additional $7.5 million in the plant, would be good news for producers in the province in the long run.

Currently, slaughter cattle go mostly to Alberta for processing and then the retail beef comes back to Manitoba, cutting into farmers’ earnings, said Tait. He noted only about 14 per cent of the beef consumed in Manitoba is currently processed here. Feeder cattle are also primarily shipped to Alberta or to eastern feedlots, rather than being fed locally.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS:

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

Ashern Livestock Mart: An estimated 1,708 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Nov. 4. In the slaughter market, age-verified D1 and D2 cows traded from $36 to $42; D3 and D5 cows, $28-$36; and good bulls, $40-$53.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. ranged from $79.50 to $89.75; 800-900 lbs., $78-$92; 700-800 lbs., $80-$94.50; 600-700 lbs., $93-$109; 500-600 lbs., $97-$115.50; and 400-500 lbs., $105-$123.50.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded at $70-$79.50; 800-900 lbs., $78-$88.10; 700-800 lbs., $79-$88; 600-700 lbs., $82-$94.75; 500-600 lbs., $89-$105; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$101.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Nov. 3 sale saw a total of 1,167 head of cattle sold. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $35 to $45 while cows brought $10-$37.

Feeder steers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight category traded from $80 to $89.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$94.75; 600-700 lbs., $85-$104.25; 500-600 lbs., $87-$118.25; 400-500 lbs., $95-$125; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$130.

Feeder hei fers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $61 to $75.50; 800-900 lbs., $65-$78; 700-800 lbs., $66-$82; 600-700 lbs., $70-$87; 500-600 lbs., $70-$95.75; 400-500 lbs., $72-$101; and 300-400 lbs., $80-$109.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 118 slaughter cattle and 859 feeders sold Nov. 4. In the slaughter market, mature cows brought $27-$32 while export cows traded from $37 to $42. Mature lean cows went for $20-$27; feeding cows, $42-$50; export bulls, $40-$45 and mature bulls, $40-$45.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $75 to $86; 700-800 lbs., $80-$89; 600-700 lbs., $83-$92.50; 500-600 lbs., $85-$94; 400-500 lbs., $90-$102; and under 400 lbs., $95-$105.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $80 to $90; 800-900 lbs., $87-$94; 700-800 lbs., $90-$97; 600-700 lbs., $90-$99; 500-600 lbs., $97-$112.50; 400-500 lbs., $102-$116; and under 400 lbs., $105-$118.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 2,127 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded from $72 to $77.50; A1-A2 heifers, $70-$75.50; D1-D2 cows, $35-$43; feeder cows, $28-$34; shells, $15-$27; and mature bulls, $48-$52.75.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. went from $79 to $84.75; 800-900 lbs., $82-$88.25; 700-800 lbs., $85-$94; 600-700 lbs., $90-$98.25; 500-600 lbs., $100-$111.25; 400-500 lbs., $105-$117.50; 300-400 lbs., $110-$121; and under 300 lbs., $110-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold from $75 to $83.75; 600-700 lbs., $78-$86.50; 500-600 lbs., $85-$95; 400-500 lbs., $88-$96; and 300-400 lbs., $108-$110.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 2,881 cattle sold at the sale held Nov. 4. Butcher steers brought $71-$75 while butcher heifers sold from $70 to $73.75. Ageverified/ young cows sold from $36 to $41.25; D1-D2 cows, $30-$35; D3 cows, $27-$30; shelly cows, $20-$27; and mature bulls, $47-$54.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $84-$89.50; 800-900 lbs., $85-$94.75; 700-800 lbs., $89-$98; 600-700 lbs., $92-$103.50; 500-600 lbs., $97-$110; 400-500 lbs., $107-$121.50; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$122.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $77 to $84; 800-900 lbs., $77-$85; 700-800 lbs., $79-$87.75; 600-700 lbs., $82-$90; 500-600 lbs., $84-$94.50; and 400-500 lbs., $84-$99.

Killarney Auction Mart: There were 983 cattle sold at the Nov. 5 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows went from $34.75 to $39.50; D3 and D4 cows, $20-$27.25; and bulls, $40.50-$53.25. Bred cows brought $800-$940 while older bred cows ranged from $360 to $575.

Feeder steers weighing 700-850 lbs. sold from $81 to $95; 500-700 lbs., $106-$115 (plain to medium $90-$100); and under 500 lbs., $116-$124 (plain to medium, $99-$104).

Feeder hei fers weighing 700-850 lbs. brought $80-$86; 500-700 lbs., $91-$98 (plain to medium $80-$85); and under 500 lbs., $102-$107 (plain to medium $85-$97).

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 916 cattle sold at the sale held on Nov. 2. Included in the sale were 118 slaughter animals and 798 feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows sold from $39 to $46.25; D2 cows, $27-$35; D3 cows, $15-$25; and bulls, $46-$54.25.

Feeder steers weighing over 900 lbs. fetched $64-$78; 800-900 lbs., $85-$88; 700-800 lbs., $82-$89.50; 600-700 lbs., $83-$102.50; 500-600 lbs., $86-$111.75; 400-500 lbs., $93-$120.50; and 300-400 lbs., $93-$121.

Feeder heifers weighing over 900 lbs. went for $59-$63; 800-900 lbs., $70-$82.25; 700-800 lbs., $72-$84.25; 600-700 lbs., $72-$89; 500-600 lbs., $80-$97; 400-500 lbs., $85-$110; and 300-400 lbs., $83.50-$104.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,576 cattle were sold at the Nov. 5 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $30 to $39; D3-D4 cows, $20-$31; slaughter bulls, $50-$55; and feeder bulls, $40-$49.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $75 to $86.50; 800-900 lbs., $82-$92; 700-800 lbs., $88-$98; 600-700 lbs., $96-$109; 500-600 lbs., $105-$118; 400-500 lbs., $105-$123; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold for $80-$89; 600-700 lbs., $85-$96; 500-600 lbs., $93-$104; 400-500 lbs., $95-$106; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$100.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held Nov. 5 resulted in 200 slaughter cattle and 758 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows traded from $35 to $44; D3 and D5 cows, $25-$35; and good bulls, $40-$50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $85-$88; 800-900 lbs., $90-$95; 700-800 lbs., $95-$98; 600-700 lbs., $100-$105; 500-600 lbs., $105-$114; 400-500 lbs., $110-$119; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $78 to $83; 700-800 lbs., $80-$85; 600-700 lbs., $80-$88; 500-600 lbs., $85-$95; 400-500 lbs., $90-$98; and 300-400 lbs., $95-$105.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 2,070 head of cattle sold during the week ending Nov. 6. In the slaughter market, dry fed cows brought $32-$36; good fleshed, $27-$33; lean, $20-$28; young age verified, $32-$41; and good bulls, $35-$43 (age verified $42-$49.50).

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $76-$84.50; 800-900 lbs., $80-$94; 700-800 lbs., $84-$93; 600-700 lbs., $90-$101; 500-600 lbs., $90-$120; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$125.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $72 to $81; 800-900 lbs., $74-$84.75; 700-800 lbs., $78-$87; 600-700 lbs., $80-$92; 500-600 lbs., $83-$98; 400-500 lbs., $85-$100; and under 400 lbs., $85-$106.

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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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