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Prices Firm Up Despite Expectations

“…butcher cattle, in all honesty, remain at some pretty low values.”

The movement of cattle to the various auction yards in Manitoba picked up significantly during the week ended Feb. 5. Prices for all classes of cattle held steady if not improved from the previous week’s level.

“For heifers we saw some fairly sizable increases in the price while values for all types of grass cattle were fully steady to a bit stronger,” said Rick Wright, a cattle buyer with Heartland Order Buying Co.

He noted that the 700-to 900-weight cattle held steady in view of fairly aggressive buyer interest. Ontario outlets, meanwhile, came on as big buyers of the 900-to 1,000-pound cattle.

“It’s a bit of a mystery as to why values managed to strengthen given that butcher cattle in all honesty remain at some pretty low values,” Wright said. “There hasn’t been any strengthening in value at all in the butcher cattle sector, so yes, it is surprising to see the prices firm.”

Wright speculated that some of the price firmness may be a direct result of the strong out-of-province demand for the cattle being marketed in Manitoba.

Demand for heifers was unusually aggressive, with buyers looking to stock up on those animals instead of steers, he said.

“We saw some major upward adjustments in the price of heifers,” Wright said, noting that prices were a full four to five cents per hundredweight (cwt) higher than they had been all spring.

The cow market also held steady at strong values, Wright said.

The spread between age-verified and non-age-verified cows tightened up a bit this week as packers were trying to round up animals for their operations in Canada, he noted.

The higher percentage of ageverified cattle on the market in Manitoba also resulted in the premium declining a bit.

“It is still very worthwhile to age verify cattle,” he said. There was no doubt, he added, that even though the spread between ageverified and non-age-verified cattle dropped to around five cents, compared to as much as a dime previously, the benefit will be apparent.

The demand that has surfaced for grass cattle in Manitoba was expected to still translate into further gains in prices, Wright predicted.

However, he cautioned that values for cattle over 700 lbs. were not likely to see much more of an improvement. Wright said if one was to work the price out against the futures market for finished cattle, values were not even close to break-even.

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: An estimated 1,835 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Feb. 3.

In the slaughter market, ageverified D1 and D2 cows traded from $42 to $50.50; D3 and D5 cows, $35-$41; and good bulls, $50-$61.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. ranged from $85 to $93; 700-800 lbs., $89-$99.50; 600-700 lbs., $95-$107.75; 500-600 lbs., $102-$119 and 400-500 lbs., $109-$123.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. brought $70-$86.50; 700-800 lbs., $70-$88.50; 600-700 lbs., $90-$95.50; 500-600 lbs., $92-$99; and 400-500 lbs., $85-$100.50.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Feb. 2 sale saw a total of 1,202 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard.

In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $45 to $54.25 while cows brought $30-$46.75.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $70 to $90; 800-900 lbs., $75-$93.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$99.25; 600-700 lbs., $80-$107.50; 500-600 lbs., $90-$120; 400-500 lbs., $105-$126; and 300-400 lbs., $88-$127.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $50 to $75; 800-900 lbs., $60-$83.50; 700-800 lbs., $70-$90.50; 600-700 lbs., $70-$96; 500-600 lbs., $75-$98; 400-500 lbs., $75-$106 and 300-400 lbs., $86-$103.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 83 slaughter cattle and 362 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard on Feb. 3. In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows traded from $50 to $52.50; lean export cows, $44-$48.50; mature cows, $35-$40; feeding cows, $47-$54; export bulls, $57-$63; and mature bulls, $47-$51.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $75 to $83.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$84; 600-700 lbs., $83-$90; 500-600 lbs., $90-$104; 400-500 lbs., $95-$109; and under 400 lbs., $100-$109.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $80-$86.50; 800-900 lbs., $86-$90.50; 700-800 lbs., $88-$93.50; 600-700 lbs., $93-$102.50; 500-600 lbs., $100-$110; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$115.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 2,095 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded from $70 to $75.50; A1-A2 heifers, $70-$73.75; D1-D2 cows, $40-$48, with age verified $48-$52; D3 cows, $32-$40; and good bulls, $52-$63.25.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $85-$91.25; 800-900 lbs., $88-$95; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98.75; 600-700 lbs., $95-$101.75; 500-600 lbs., $105-$118; 400-500 lbs., $110-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$123.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., sold from $80 to $82; 800-900 lbs., $80-$83.75; 700-800 lbs., $82-$89.25; 600-700 lbs., $85-$93; 500-600 lbs., $88-$96; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$96.75.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 2,181 cattle sold at the sale held on Feb. 3.

Butcher steers brought $68-$72.50 while butcher heifers sold from $67 to $71.50. Age-verified/ young cows sold from $46-$53; D1-D2 cows, $38-$44; D3 cows, $33-$38; shelly cows, $30-$33; and mature bulls, $57-$62.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $86-$94.50; 800-900 lbs., $89-$96.75; 700-800 lbs., $92-$101; 600-700 lbs., $97-$105; 500-600 lbs., $102-$113; 400-500 lbs., $110-$121; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$125.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $76 to $83.50; 800-900 lbs., $80-$87.50; 700-800 lbs., $83-$91; 600-700 lbs., $85-$94; 500-600 lbs., $87-$97; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$100.

Killarney Auction Mart: Information was not available from Killarney this week.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 530 cattle sold at the sale held on Feb. 1. Included in the sale were 101 slaughter animals and 429 feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows sold from $44 to $52; D2 cows, $38-$45; D3 cows, $34-$39; and bulls, $55-$62.

Feeder steers weighing over 900 lbs. fetched $80-$92.75; 800-900 lbs., $82-$96; 700-800 lbs., $89-$102; 600-700 lbs., $93-$104; 500-600 lbs., $96-$116; and 400-500 lbs., $111-$121.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $70-$85; 700-800 lbs., $73-$89; 600-700 lbs., $77-$92; 500-600 lbs., $81-$97; and 400-500 lbs., $84-$97.50.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,405 cattle were sold at the Feb. 4 sale. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $36 to $42; D3-D4 cows, $25-$35; and bulls, $55-$63.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $85 to $91.50; 800-900 lbs., $86-$93; 700-800 lbs., $90-$99.50; 600-700 lbs., $100-$111; 500-600 lbs., $100-$118; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$125.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $78-$85; 700-800 lbs., $82-$91.50; 600-700 lbs., $84-$97; 500-600 lbs., $88-$97; and 400-500 lbs., $88-$103.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held on Feb. 4 resulted in 314 slaughter cattle and 900 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. brought $72-$75; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $70-$73.50; D1 and D2 cows, $40-$53; D3 and D5 cows, $35-$40; and good bulls, $58-$63.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $85-$90; 800-900 lbs., $88-$92; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $95-$105; 500-600 lbs., $100-$114; 400-500 lbs., $105-$116 and 300-400 lbs., $110-$122.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $78 to $84; 700-800 lbs., $80-$92; 600-700 lbs., $85-$95; 500-600 lbs., $90-$98; 400-500 lbs., $95-$105; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$110.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: There were about 1,554 head of cattle sold during the week ending Feb. 5. In the slaughter market, dry fed cows sold from $33 to $42; good fleshed, $34-$39; lean $27-$35; young age verified, $38-$56; and good bulls, $45-$59.

Feeder steers weighing over 1,000 lbs. brought $76-$85; 900-1,000 lbs., $82-$90; 800-900 lbs., $85-$92; 700-800 lbs., $90-$95.50; 600-700 lbs., $95-$109; 500-600 lbs., $100-$117; 400-500 lbs., $105-$122; and under 400 lbs., $110-$120.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. went for $72-$77.50; 800-900 lbs., $77-$84; 700-800 lbs., $80-$89; 600-700 lbs., $84-$107; 500-600 lbs., $88-$107.50; 400-500 lbs., $90-$107 and under 400 lbs., $90-$97.

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