Your Reading List

Slaughter Cattle Prices Pressure All Segments

Ca t t l e markets in Manitoba held reasonably steady during the week ended Dec. 18, although activity was starting to slow down as most yards will now be closed through Christmas and New Year’s.

“Overall, I’d say the market was generally steady with previous weeks, at least on the top-end cattle,” said Gene Parks of Pipestone Livestock Sales. There were a lot of medium-quality cattle moving during the week, he said, but added that both buyers and sellers were winding down their activities ahead of the Christmas break.

“They’re just cleaning up the last of things,” Parks said, adding that feedlots don’t want to be bringing in a lot of cattle before Christmas, as they will be running on reduced staff due to holidays as well.

Auction yards will reopen in January, but Parks expected it would take a few weeks to build up volumes. Some of the cattle that could have moved before Christmas, but didn’t, might be offered early in the new year, he said. However, any smaller background calves will now likely be held until they reach the 800-to 850-pound level sometime in February or March.

Cull cows continue to move through the auction yards at a steady pace, he said, although prices are poor.

Low slaughter cattle prices remain the main factor keeping all of the cattle sector under pressure.

“If fats were a dollar a pound, you’d see ever-increasing strength in the feeder cattle, and you’d see greater strength in the cow market,” said Parks. However, as long as slaughter cattle continue to trade in the low 70-cents-per-pound area, there’s not much reason for the other aspects of the cattle market to see any improvement.

“It’s just the situation we’re in,” he said, adding “we just have to roll with the punches.” The weaker U. S. economy was partially to blame for the poor slaughter market, he said, as the U. S. is the main customer for finished Canadian cattle.

Increases in subsidized foreign beef imports to Canada are also taking their toll on the Canadian cattle sector, as beef at the retail level is being sold below the cost of production in Western Canada.

Parks expected Canadian cattle herds would continue to see reductions until an equilibrium between supply and demand is eventually reached. “You can’t get any money for finished cattle when you’re selling below the cost of production year in and year out, something has to happen,” he said, adding “there will be less cattle producers, period,” when everything finally settles out.

While he wasn’t sure when that would happen, Parks maintained some optimism heading into the new year, saying “you never know what will happen” in markets.

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 2,015 head of cattle were sold at the sale held Dec. 16. In the slaughter market, age-verified D1 and D2 cows traded from $40 to $52; D3 and D5 cows, $30-$40; and good bulls, $40-$55.

Feeder steers weighing 700-800 lbs. ranged from $85 to $97.25; 600-700 lbs., $88-$105.50; 500-600 lbs., $90-$112.75; and 400-500 lbs., $80-$103.75.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. traded at $72-$84.50; 600-700 lbs., $70-$86.60; 500-600 lbs., $80-$95; and 400-500 lbs., $91-$94.

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

Gladstone Auction Mart: The Dec. 15 sale saw a total of 664 head of cattle sold at the Gladstone yard. In the slaughter market, bulls sold from $30 to $52 while cows brought $13-$33, with age verified up to $41.

Feeder steers in the 900-to 1,000-lb. weight category traded from $60 to $84.75; 800-900 lbs., $75-$86.50; 700-800 lbs., $75-$90; 600-700 lbs., $80-$103.50; 500-600 lbs., $85-$113.75; 400-500 lbs., $90-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $95-$127.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $60 to $73; 800-900 lbs., $72-$79; 700-800 lbs., $60-$79; 600-700 lbs., $75-$87.50; 500-600 lbs., $75-$97; 400-500 lbs., $80-$102.50; and 300-400 lbs., $80-$109.

The next sale will be held Jan. 12.

Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart: There were 140 slaughter cattle and 316 feeders sold at the Grunthal yard Dec. 16.

In the slaughter market, fleshy export cows traded from $41 to $45.25; lean export cows, $38-$42; mature cows, $30-$35; feeding cows, $40-$46; export bulls, $50-$54; and mature bulls, $44-$48.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $72 to $78.50; 700-800 lbs., $74-$79; 600-700 lbs., $78-$83; 500-600 lbs., $84-$91; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$100.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. sold from $80 to $84.50; 700-800 lbs., $82-$89.50; 600-700 lbs., $86-$92.75; 500-600 lbs., $94-$106; and 400-500 lbs., $106-$116.

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

Heartland Livestock Services, Brandon: A total of 855 cattle were on offer in Brandon during the week. A1-A2 steers traded for up to $72.50; A1-A2 heifers, up to $72; D1-D2 cows, $29-$36, age verified $37-$44; D3 cows, $22-$28; shells, $10-$22; and good bulls $46-$52.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. sold from $80 to $83; 800-900 lbs., $84-$95; 700-800 lbs., $95-$102; 600-700 lbs., $98-$104.75; 500-600 lbs., $102-$115.50; 400-500 lbs., $105-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$123.

Feeder heifers weighing 700-800 lbs. sold from $75 to $82.50; 600-700 lbs., $78-$82.50; 500-600 lbs., $88-$97; and 400-500 lbs., $85-$94.75.

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

Heartland Livestock Services, Virden: There were about 1,196 cattle sold at the sale held Dec. 16.

Butcher steers brought $70-$73.50 while butcher heifers sold from $69 to $72.75. Age-verified/ young cows sold from $35 to $43; D1-D2 cows, $29-$35; D3 cows, $26-$29; shelly cows, $22-$26; and mature bulls, $47-$55.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $81-$86; 800-900 lbs., $83-$91.50; 700-800 lbs., $87-$99; 600-700 lbs., $90-$104; 500-600 lbs., $100-$112; 400-500 lbs., $110-$125; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$129.

Feeder heifers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $71 to $79; 800-900 lbs., $74-$81; 700-800 lbs., $76-$85; 600-700 lbs., $78-$87; 500-600 lbs., $84-$95; and 400-500 lbs., $90-$100.

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

Killarney Auction Mart: Information was not available from Killarney this week. The next sale will be held Jan. 14.

Pipestone Livestock Sales: There were 533 cattle sold at the sale held on Dec. 14. Included in the sale were 111 slaughter animals and 422 feeders.

In the slaughter market, age verified sold for up to $54; D1 cows, $38-$44; D2 cows, $27-$36; D3 cows, $14-$24; and bulls, $44-$55.

Feeder steers weighing 800-900 lbs. fetched $72-$94; 700-800 lbs., $77-$97; 600-700 lbs., $78-$100; 500-600 lbs., $84-$116.50; 400-500 lbs., $90-$119; and 300-400 lbs., $100-$129.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $68-$81; 700-800 lbs., $70-$83.50; 600-700 lbs., $72-$86; 500-600 lbs., $76-$91; 400-500 lbs., $80-$96; and 300-400 lbs., $81-$100.

Pipestone is now closed until Jan. 11.

Ste. Rose Auction Mart: A total of 1,223 cattle were sold at the Dec. 17 sale.

In the slaughter market, D1 and D2 cows ranged from $30 to $36; D3-D4 cows, $18-$27; and bulls, $45-$52.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. traded from $78 to $88; 800-900 lbs., $85-$91.75; 700-800 lbs., $90-$99; 600-700 lbs., $95-$106; 500-600 lbs., $105-$121; 400-500 lbs., $100-$124; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$124.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. went for $75-$85; 700-800 lbs., $77-$88; 600-700 lbs., $82-$90; 500-600 lbs., $85-$92; 400-500 lbs., $88-$101; and 300-400 lbs., $90-$106.

The next sale will be held Jan. 14.

Taylor Auctions, Melita: The sale held Dec. 17 resulted in 150 slaughter cattle and 388 feeders being sold. In the slaughter market, A1 and A2 steers over 1,000 lbs. brought $70-$73.50; A1 and A2 heifers over 850 lbs., $68-$72; D1 and D2 cows, $35-$45; D3 and D5 cows, $25-$35; and good bulls, $48-$54.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. brought $80-$84; 800-900 lbs., $85-$92; 700-800 lbs., $90-$98; 600-700 lbs., $95-$105; 500-600 lbs., $100-$114; 400-500 lbs., $105-$118; and 300-400 lbs., $110-$122.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. traded from $75 to $82; 700-800 lbs., $80-$85; 600-700 lbs., $82-$92; 500-600 lbs., $85-$95; 400-500 lbs., $90-$100; and 300-400 lbs., $95-$105.

Taylor Auctions will reopen Jan. 14.

Winnipeg Livestock Sales: Prices were unavailable for the week ended Dec. 18. The next sale will be held Jan. 5.

About the author

Columnist

Phil Franz-Warkentin - MarketsFarm

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

Phil Franz-Warkentin - MarketsFarm's recent articles

Comments

explore

Stories from our other publications