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Prices Slump For Heavy Cattle

Prices at Manitoba’s cattle auction marts during the week ended May 8 were steady to mixed. Strong local demand continues to boost grass weight prices, while prices for heavyweight cattle slumped.

“Cattle over the 750-lb. mark, especially the 900-to 1,000-lb. animals, have really backed up over the last week,” said Rick Wright, a livestock order buyer and cattle broker for Cattlex Ltd. at Hamiota. “Prices for those weight classes have dropped back both in western and southern Manitoba.”

Feedlots in Alberta are getting lower prices for their cattle and as a result are not paying what they were a few weeks ago, while at the same time the recent spike in the Canadian dollar is limiting buying interest from U. S. cattle purchasers, Wright said.

Also, while there is not an oversupply of heavy cattle from a historical perspective, with the economy the way it is right now, the market probably has all that it can handle, he added.

The outbreak of H1N1 has not helped the market either. “The issue is competitive retailing and the traditional spread between pork and beef prices,” Wright said. If pork prices continue to drop due to flu fears, there is no room for beef prices to climb.

“We’re entering that time of year when there is demand for good beef cuts because of summer barbecuing and things like that, but there is a limit to upward movement in price if pork prices are so poor,” he said.

A bright spot in the market this week was unexpected strength in cow values, given depressed prices for finished cattle. A small, good-quality offering of cow-calf pairs at Melita, particularly, was encouraging for producers, Wright said.

There is renewed interest in cow-calf pairs, with lots of calls coming into the market looking for them. That’s a far cry from the fall when no one wanted bred cows and prices were very poor, he said.

Looking ahead, Wright believes the Manitoba cattle market could be given a boost as fewer animals are brought to auction while producers are tied up with spring seeding and other farm chores.

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 1,479 head of cattle were sold at the sale held May 6. In the slaughter market, heiferettes sold for $50-$77 and older shelly cows from $15 and up, while D1 and D2 cows traded from $65 to $75.25. D3 and D5 cows brought $50-$60. Good bulls sold from $55-$71.50.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. ranged from $90 to $104; 700-800 lbs., $90-$115; 600-700 lbs., $97-$123; 500-600 lbs., $108-$125; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$132. Feeder heifers, 800-900 lbs., traded $85-$100; 700-800 lbs., $89-$105; 600-700 lbs., $90-$110; 500-600 lbs., $95-$115; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$120.

Gladstone Auction Mart: The May 5 sale saw a total of 878 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $50 to $60.50 while cows brought $15-$55.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $81 to $93; 800-900 lbs., $78-$94; 700-800 lbs., $80-$115; 600-700 lbs., $95-$122.25; 500-600 lbs., $80-$130.50; 400-500 lbs., $105-$139.50; and 300-400 lbs., $95-$139. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $70 to $84.50; 800-900 lbs., $65-$92.50; 700-800 lbs., $80-$104; 600-700 lbs., $86-$108; 500-600 lbs., $85-$120; 400-500 lbs., $85-$120.50; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$115.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 87 slaughter cattle and 277 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard on May 6.

In the slaughter market, heiferettes brought $60.50-$65 and age-verified cows brought $51.25-$58.50, while mature cows traded from $42 to $49. Age-ver ified bulls brought $52-$64.50 and mature bulls $42-$49.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $85 to $90.50; 700-800 lbs., $85-$96; 600-700 lbs., $92-$103; 500-600 lbs., $93-$120; and 400-500 lbs. , $95-$121. Feeder steers weighing 900 to 1,000 lbs. sold from $82 to $93; 800-900 lbs., $83-$99; 700-800 lbs., $92-$107.75; 600-700 lbs. , $93-$107.50; 500-600 lbs. , $103-$122; 400-500 lbs., $107-$125 and under 400 lbs., $100-$132.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 976 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the auction held May 5.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. saw $89-$95.25; 800-900 lbs., $92-$104; 700-800 lbs., $98-$113.75; 600-700 lbs., $100-$118; 500-600 lbs., $110-$122; 400-500 lbs., $112-$133; and 300-400 lbs., $112-$126.50. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $82 to $89.50; 800-900 lbs., $85-$95.75; 700-800 lbs., $92-$105.25; 600-700 lbs., $100-$110; 500-600 lbs., $100-$114; 400-500 lbs., $102-$114.75; and 300-400 lbs., $105-$115.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were 957 cattle sold at the auction held May 6. Butcher steers brought $86-$89.50, while butcher heifers sold from $85 to $88.50. Age-verified/young cows sold for $53-$58.50; D1-D2 cows, $50-$55; D3 cows, $45-$50; shelly cows $35-$44; and mature bulls, $67-$73.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $88-$97; 800-900 lbs., $95-$106; 700-800 lbs., $100-$112; 600-700 lbs., $110-$125.75; 500-600 lbs., $117-$134; and 400-500 lbs., $118-$134. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $84 to $95; 800-900 lbs., $91-$100; 700-800 lbs., $95-$105; 600-700 lbs., $101-$111; 500-600 lbs., $103-$113; and 400-500 lbs., $106-$118.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 859 cattle sold at the May 4 auction in Pipestone. Included in the sale were 100 slaughter animals and 275 feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows brought $47-$55; D2 cows brought $30-$44, age verified $56-$63; and D3 cows brought $18-$26 while bulls traded from $67 to $76.

Feeder steers weighing over 900 lbs. fetched $83-$97; 800-900 lbs., $88-$102; 700-800 lbs., $93-$113; 600-700 lbs., $98-$121; 500-600 lbs., $104-$128; 400-500 lbs., $118-$131; and 300-400 lbs., $118-$129. Feeder heifers weighing over 900 lbs., $76-$89; 800-900 lbs., $86-$101; 700-800 lbs., $90-$106; 600-700 lbs., $93-$110.50; 500-600 lbs., $96-$112.50; 400-500 lbs., $98-$116; and 300-400 lbs., $97-$112.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,385 cattle were on offer at the May 7 sale.

In the slaughter market, prices for D1 and D2 cows ranged from $50 to $57.50, while D3 cows brought $30-$48 and bulls sold from $60 to $71.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $90 to $100; 700-800 lbs., $100-$114; 600-700 lbs., $110-$123; 500-600 lbs., $115-$125; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$130. Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $84 to $91; 700-800 lbs., $98-$106; 600-700 lbs., $102-$112; 500-600 lbs., $105-$115; 400-500 lbs., $105-$125 and 300-400 lbs., $105-$123.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held May 7 saw 100 slaughter cattle and 423 feeders sold. In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows sold from $52 to $58; D3 and D5 cows, $45-$52; and good bulls, $68-$74.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. category ranged from $90 to $95; 800-900 lbs., $95-$108; 700-800 lbs., $100-$114; 600-700 lbs., $105-$122; 500-600 lbs., $110-$125; 400-500 lbs., $115-$130; and 300-400 lbs., $120-$135. Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. fetched $88-$98; 700-800 lbs., $90-$100; 600-700 lbs., $95-$104; 500-600 lbs., $100-$110; 400-500 lbs., $105-$115; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$120.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales Ltd.: There were 1,270 head of cattle offered at the sales during the week ended May 8.

In the slaughter market, select steers and heifers brought $85-$88; dry fed cows $38-$45; good fleshed, $35-$42; lean, $20-$32; young age verified, $50-$57; and good bulls, from $60 to $71.

Feeder steers weighing 700-800 lbs. brought $95-$110; 600-700 lbs., $95-$117; 500-600 lbs., $105-$124.50; and 400-500 lbs., $105-$134. Heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. ranged from $92 to $98; 600-700 lbs., $95-$108; 500-600 lbs., $100-$113; and 400-500 lbs., from $98 to $118.

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