The number of cattle headed to Manitoba’s weekly auctions is expected to decline, according to Harold Unrau, manager at Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart.
“There’s hardly any butchers left on the farms because they sold them all earlier,” Unrau said. “The feeder cattle are going to slow down too, as not many are left out in the country.”
Grunthal auctioned a total of 827 head for its April 2 auction, a slight increase from the 804 cattle auctioned on March 26, but well down from the 940 head sold March 19.
Ashern Auction Mart and Heartland Livestock’s Virden auction have also seen declines in their cattle traffic. Comparing Ashern’s March 20 and April 3 sales, the number of cattle fell from 1,228 to 877. During the same time, Virden saw its numbers fall from 2,119 to 668 head.
Similarly, Ste. Rose Auction Mart reported a decline from 1,703 to 1,209 head over the same time period.
Prices at Grunthal on April 2 were “fully steady, with cows a little higher,” Unrau said.
The fewer head coincide with increased demand as barbecue season is just around the corner, he noted.
Butcher cows at Grunthal ranged from as low as $40 per hundredweight (cwt) for skinny cows to as high as $89/cwt for cows. Bulls were $81-$108/cwt.
Lightweights at Grunthal fetched as much as $230/cwt for feeder heifers and up to $245/cwt for feeder steers. Once cattle exceeded 700 lbs., the price dropped under the $200/cwt mark. For example, feeder heifers (800-900 lbs.) brought in $130-$160/cwt. Feeder steers in the same weight class garnered $150-$175.
On an unrelated note, with the departure of Brian Lemon, Manitoba Beef Producers is searching for a new general manager. The deadline to apply for the position is April 15. Go to the MBP website for more information.