The fall run is in full swing at Manitoba’s cattle auctions, and prices are coming under pressure typical for this time of year.
“Feeder cattle are under pressure,” said Harold Unrau, manager at Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart. He cited high grain prices and dropping U.S. cattle futures as possible reasons for the depressed prices, along with limited space in feedlots.
“There’s a backlog from fed cattle for slaughter from earlier in the year,” he said.
“Let’s hope it turns around and goes right back up.”
Tyler Slawinski, auctioneer at Gladstone and Ashern’s livestock auctions, noticed the spread between feeder steers and heifers was rising.
“It’s more than producers want it to be,” he said.
At Gladstone, feeder steers between 600 and 700 lbs. went for $156-$185 per hundredweight, while feeder heifers in the same weight class were $135-$160/cwt.
Similarly, at Ashern, feeder steers between 900 and 1,000 lbs. were $149-$170/cwt, while feeder heifers were between $123 and $150.
Slawinski said a shortage of trucks to haul cattle to their destinations also kept pressure on feeder cattle prices.
“There aren’t enough people hauling cattle,” he said, noting the fall run has been “crazy” this year with high volumes of cattle moving across the country. “It’s hard to get trucks going east.”
During the week ended Oct. 29, Manitoba saw over 10,000 cattle coming to auction, compared to the week prior when about 8,000 cattle came into the ring.
“You can only put about 90 to 100 feeders on a truck,” Slawinski said. “So that’s a pile of trucks needed to move those cattle where they need to be.”
Bred cattle sales are expected to start in the coming weeks, and demand is expected to be high.
“There should be a lot of demand for bred cows, as producers will need to replenish their numbers,” he said.