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Pricing “Aggressive” As Winter Weather Curtails Supplies

Aggressive pricing was reported at cattle auctions across Manitoba for the week ended Feb. 12. A mix of rain, snow, fog and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc on highways across the province and considerably reduced the number of animals on offer at auction yards. Taylor Auctions in Melita cancelled its weekly sale on account of poor weather.

“For what we had to sell, I would call it a very strong market,” said Rick Wright, a livestock order buyer and cattle broker for Cattlex Ltd. at Hamiota.

“It was a supply-driven market. With the short supplies, if you were interested in buying some cattle, especially if you were shipping outside the province, you had to buy what was there. We saw fairly aggressive pricing as a result,” he said.

The pullback of the Canadian dollar mid-week, which saw it slip as low as US80 cents (US$1=C$1.25), encouraged good buying interest from Americans, who purchased a large portion of the cattle in the 900-lb.-plus weight categories, Wright said.

LOCAL DEMAND

Strong demand from the local market for steers and heifers under the 600-lb. class also accounted for a sizable portion of the auction activity.

Livestock purchasers from Quebec were also in the market, as were buyers from Ontario, Wright said. “In Ontario they are getting a decent price for their finished cattle there and so they’re moving some and wanting to refill their inventory,” he said.

On the supply side, Wright said there has been a smaller string of backgrounded animals coming on to the market so far this year than is normally the case. Many Manitoba producers were hesitant in the fall to purchase cattle in light of the uncertainty surrounding country-of-origin-labelling (COOL) legislation in the U. S. and the volatility in exchange rates, Wright explained.

“What a lot of them did as an alternative was custom feed for guys in the U. S., Ontario or Quebec and so those cattle are not coming back to the market because they are not for resale,” he said.

CALVING COMING UP

In the coming weeks, steady prices and a good number of animals are expected at Manitoba’s auction yards, provided the weather co-operates.

Calving season is approaching and primary producers who kept their cattle over the winter will need to get last year’s cattle production out before they begin calving this year’s production, Wright said.

Also, “there are a few areas where guys are a little bit short on feed. This dry, cold weather that we had through December and January ran feed piles down pretty aggressively. So some of these guys may end up marketing their cattle a little sooner than normal because of that situation. They don’t want to be short on feed for their bred cows either,” he said.

The good supply of animals is not expected to be so large that it will negatively impact prices. “I think the market can certainly handle everything that is coming at it,” Wright said.

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

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

Due to an early deadline, results for the Friday, Feb. 13 auction by Winnipeg Livestock Sales Ltd. were not included in this report.

Ashern Livestock Mart: There were 691 head of cattle sold at the sale held Feb. 11. Of the animals sold, 38 were for slaughter while the remaining 653 consisted of feeders.

In the slaughter market, older shelly cows sold from $15 and up; D1 and D2 cows brought $42-$50, while D3 and D5 cows traded from $38 to $42. Good bulls sold from $56.50 to $59.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $90-$103; 700-800 lbs., $95-$105; 600-700 lbs., $100-$108.30; and 500-600 lbs., $111-$121.50. Feeder heifers in the 700-to 800-lb. weight category brought $88-$96.50; 600-700 lbs., $85-$95; and 500-600 lbs., $94-$100.

Gladstone Auction Mart : There were 172 head of cattle sold at the auction held Feb. 10. Feeder steers weighing between 700 and 800 lbs. sold from $88 to $105.25; 600-700 lbs., $90-$112.50; 500-600 lbs., $95-$118.50; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$123. Feeder heifers in the 700-to 800-lb. weight class sold for $65-$85.50; 600-700 lbs., $73-$95.75; 500-600 lbs., $80-$99.50; 400-500 lbs., $86-$99.50; and 300-400 lbs., $85-$103. Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: The Feb. 11 sale saw a total of 317 head of cattle sold at the Grunthal auction yard. The sale included 76 slaughter animals and 241 feeders.

In the slaughter market, age-verified cows traded from $48 to $56; mature cows, $30-$47.50; and a single bull was auctioned off for $55.

Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight class sold from $75 to $87; 700-800 lbs., $84-$96; 600-700 lbs., $88-$100; 500-600 lbs., $92-$103; and 400-500 lbs., $97-$109. Feeder steers weighing between 800-900 lbs. fetched $82-$90; 700-800 lbs., $86.50-$97.75; 600-700 lbs., $86-$98; 500-600 lbs., $108-$123.50; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$126. Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 815 cattle sold at the sale held Feb. 9. Of the cattle on offer, 80 consisted of slaughter animals while the remainder were feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 cows brought $39-$47 and D2 cows $26-$37; D3 cows saw sales from $5-$19. Bulls traded $56.25-$60.75.

Feeder steers weighing over 900 lbs. traded from $85 to $94; 800-900 lbs., $86-$97.25; 700-800 lbs., $92-$106.50; 600-700 lbs., $97-$113.50; 500-600 lbs., $103-$119.50; and 400-500 lbs., $105-$122. Feeder heifers in the 800-to 900-lb. weight category brought $75-$87; 700-800 lbs., $82-$94; 600-700 lbs., $84-$97.25; 500-600 lbs., $83-$99.50; and 400-500 lbs., $84-$102.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart Ltd.: An estimated 640 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Feb. 12. Of the animals sold, 94 were for the slaughter market while the remainder were feeders.

In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows brought $40-$49, while D3 cows sold from $28 to $39. Good bulls traded from $56-$63.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., fetched $88-$97; 800-900 lbs., $90-$100; 700-800 lbs., $94-$106; 600-700 lbs., $100-$111.50; 500-600 lbs., $105-$124; and 400-500 lbs., $100-$132. Feeder heifers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight class sold from $75 to $85; 800-900 lbs., $84-$93.50; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $90-$100; 500-600 lbs., $90-$105; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$109.

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 1,550 head of cattle were sold in Brandon at the sales held on Feb. 10 and 12.

In the slaughter market, D1-D2 cows were traded from $30 to $52.25; D3 cows, $30-$35; and mature bulls, $55-$60; good bulls also brought $55-$60.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs., traded from $85 to $93.75; 800-900 lbs., $88-$97; 700-800 lbs., $98-$106.25; 600-700 lbs., $100-$112.50; 500-600 lbs., $105-$120; and 400-500 lbs., $110-$120. Feeder heifers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight class saw $78-$85.50, 800-900 lbs., $78-$84.25; 700-800 lbs., $86-$96; 600-700 lbs., $88-$103; 500-600 lbs., $90-$104 and 400-500 lbs., $90-$104.

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: Due to highway closures in Manitoba on account of poor weather conditions, only 100 feeder cattle were sold at the sale on Feb. 11. As a result, prices for Feb. 11 were combined with those from the Feb. 4 sale.

In the slaughter market, butcher steers sold from $80 to $85; butcher heifers saw $80-$83; age-verified young cows traded $46-$52.75. D1-D2 cows sold from $39 to $45 while D3 cows brought $34-$38. Shelly cows traded $28-$34 while mature bulls fetched $50-$58.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category sold from $86 to $94; 800-900 lbs., $91-$98; 700-800 lbs., $95-$106.75; 600-700 lbs., $99-$113.50; 500-600 lbs., $105-$119; and 400-500 lbs., $108-$120. Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $78-$86; 800-900 lbs., $82-$90; 700-800 lbs., $86-$94; 600-700 lbs., $88-$99; 500-600 lbs., $90-$102; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$102.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: There were no prices available as the cattle auction for the week of Feb. 13 was cancelled due to poor weather and road conditions.

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