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U.S. Cattle Supply, Rising Loonie Pressure Prices

The week ended A u g . 1 saw a large

increase in the value of the Canadian dollar, and the strong loonie has limited some of the strength seen at Manitoba auction marts over the last while.

Robin Hill, manager of Heartland Livestock Services at Virden, said the majority of the animals at its July 27 sale were butcher cattle, and the market wasn’t particularly strong.

“Cows were steady from the week previous, but bulls were about $2 to $3 lower this week,” Hill said. “Butcher steers and heifers were a bit lower as well.”

The ongoing debt crisis in the U.S. has been hammering the greenback lower, and as a result, the loonie soared above the US$1.06 level for a significant portion of the week.

Although the strength of the Canadian dollar put a damper on the upside of the market, Hill said about a third of the butcher animals sold were still going to the U.S. Aside from the strong loonie, he added, the reason for the lower prices was an increase in supply in the U.S.

“In Texas, a lot of animals have hit the hamburger market recently, so that has hurt the butcher animals as well,” he said.

Feeder cattle were few and far between at the sale, Hill said, which made it difficult for buyers to get a full load together, which in turn weighed on prices. Most of the orders for feeders were just from local buyers, he said.

However, Hill said there is some definite optimism in the feeder market, even though it wasn’t seen at the Virden sale this week.

“The feeder market is very aggressive today,” he said. “If we had volumes, we would see some very high prices on feeder steers and heifers.”

In about a month or so, when volumes traditionally pick up, the feeder market could be quite attractive, Hill said.

“If guys have some heavy steers or heifers, I would be recommending it’s time to, at the very least, be thinking of marketing them.”

Haying operations in the area have been moving along quite well, with most producers slowly winding things down, he said.

“We are probably about three-quarters complete, and I’ve been hearing about three bales per acre, which would be a bit above average.”

FROM THE AUCTION FLOORS

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

AshernLivestockMart: Closed for summer. Sales to resume in August.

GladstoneAuctionMart: Summer schedule in place. Auctions to resume in mid- August.

GrunthalLivestockAuction Mart:Summer schedule in place. Sales resume Aug. 9, moving from Wednesdays to Tuesdays.

HeartlandLivestock Services,Brandon:Atotal of 537 cattle were on offer in Brandon at the July 26 sale. In the slaughter market, D1-D2 cows went for $68- $76.50; D3 cows, $60-$67; feeder cows, $52-$59; and good bulls, $79-$83.50.

Feeder steers weighing 900-1,000 lbs. ranged from $102 to $112; 800-900 lbs., $108-$114; 700-800 lbs. , $116-$132; 600-700 lbs. , $122-$135; 500-600 lbs. , $130-$142; 400-500 lbs. , $140-$152.50; and 300-400 lbs., $142-$156.60.

Feeder heifers weighing 800-900 lbs. brought $90- $109.50; 700-800 lbs., $110- $117; 600-700 lbs., $112-$124; 500-600 lbs., $118-$134; 400- 500 lbs., $120-$135; and 300- 400 lbs., $125-$135.

HeartlandLivestock Services,Virden:Pricesunavailable at press time from July 27 sale.

KillarneyAuctionMart: No auction this week. Sales to resume in August.

Ste.RoseAuctionMart: Sales finished for summer. Auctions to resume in fall.

TaylorAuctions,Melita: Sales concluded for summer. Auctions to resume Aug. 18.

WinnipegLivestockSales: There were about 200 cattle sold at the sale held July 29. In the slaughter market, age-verified/ young cows ranged from $52 to $65; D1 and D2 cows, $59-$62; D3 cows, $54- $59; shelly cows, $50-$54; and mature bulls, $75-$84.50.

Feeder prices were not available from the sale.

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