Despite only having 259 feeder and butcher cattle going through the rings on Aug. 10, Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart was one of a few auction sites across the province beginning their season early due to unseasonably hot and dry weather.
While there weren’t enough feeders to establish a market, 109 to be exact, auctioneer and sales representative Brad Kehler was content with the bids for them.
“We didn’t have very many feeder cattle, but the cattle we had there, I thought, sold quite well,” he said.
Grunthal was one of five auction sites in Manitoba to hold a feeder and butcher sale during the week ended Aug. 12, along with Ste. Rose, Winnipeg and both Heartland Livestock Auction sites in Brandon and Virden.
In total, 3,926 cattle were sold during the week, a sharp increase from 3,011 at five auction sites in the previous week. Kehler expects the numbers in Grunthal to increase over the coming weeks although southeastern Manitoba has not been as stricken by drought as in the Interlake or Parkland regions.
“Locally around Grunthal, we’ve managed to get a little more moisture than our friends up north. We’re not going to see the pressure at our auction mart that some of the other auction marts have seen,” Kehler explained. “But we’ll see more yearlings come through and some more cows and then feeder cattle will start shortly after that.”
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the highest-traded October live cattle contract closed at US$128.500 per hundredweight on Aug. 12 and has traded sideways for two weeks. The October feeder cattle contract closed at US$165.625/cwt, trading similarly to the live cattle contract. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar slipped back below the 80-cent U.S. mark, closing at US$0.7987.
“I would expect (cattle) prices to be stable and (cattle) numbers will increase as time goes on,” Kehler added.
In a statement released on Aug. 10, Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) thanked the provincial government for providing C$62 million under the AgriRecovery framework for producers affected by the drought.
“MBP believes that the investments in initiatives such as feed assistance, feed transportation and cattle transportation, as well as a herd-rebuilding program are critically important to Manitoba’s beef sector. In addition to helping producers deal with their immediate feed needs, they will also help them plan for the long-term future of their operations, such as growing their herds following drought-related downsizing. Today’s announcement is recognition of the importance of beef production in our province,” the statement read.
MBP is also asking members to complete a five-to-10 minute confidential online survey to assess how the drought has affected them so far. No operation-specific identifying information will be shared with governments.
You can log on to the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/YX52PFG.
For more content related to drought management visit The Dry Times, where you can find a collection of stories from our family of publications as well as links to external resources to support your decisions through these difficult times.