Despite cold weather and icy highways, cattle markets across Manitoba were in full swing during the week ended Jan. 17.
Tyler Slawinski, Gladstone Auction Mart’s auctioneer, said about 600 head showed up to the first auction of the year.
“That’s about twice as many as I had expected,” he said.
“That’s a good sign for the market.”
Slawinski noted there had been some concern about fewer cattle coming to auction in the new year, after the fall run saw increased volumes due to possible feed shortages.
“It seems like we sold a lot of cattle last fall because of the hay shortage and drought,” he said.
“When the dust settled and we counted things out, we were right on track to where we are every year.”
Slawinski predicted auctions will stay busy this winter and a consistent number of cattle will head to auction “right into spring calving.”
Prices for feeder cattle remained fairly steady compared to the last auctions in 2019. At Gladstone’s Dec. 10 sale, 800- to 900-lb. cattle went for between $180 and $183 per hundredweight (cwt). This week, prices for the same weight class were between $179.50 and $184.50. Similarly, 500- to 600-lb. cattle at the Dec. 10 auction went for between $170 and $238/cwt, and $183-$233/cwt on Jan. 14.
Slaughter prices were “well averaged,” as the lower end of prices has increased, and high prices have remained steady. Prices for D1-D2 slaughter cattle at the last auction of 2019 were between $59 and $71.50/cwt, but ran between $62 and $73.50/cwt on Jan. 14.
Demand for Manitoba cattle was split fairly equally between Eastern and Western Canada, with demand for bred cattle slightly stronger to the west.