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Absence of demand drags on cattle prices at auction markets

Parched pastures and fields are pushing feed costs higher

Dry pasture land and higher feed grain prices drove demand lower at cattle markets during the week ended June 14.

Butcher cattle prices in particular dipped four to five cents lower at Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart, largely due to lack of demand.

Feeder cattle volumes were too low to report on in Grunthal, with about 75 head coming to auction. That’s down by about half compared to the previous week, which saw almost 150 feeder cattle.

Pasture land across the Prairies has deteriorated due to lack of rainfall. In Saskatchewan, hay land and pastures were rated as 91 per cent short to very short, according to a crop report released June 13.

Manitoba Agriculture published a similar report on June 11, detailing how pasture growth across the province has been “hampered by early grazing, lack of moisture, and continual frosts.”

Pasture land quality was slightly higher in Alberta, rated as 25 per cent poor, 32 per cent fair, 40 per cent good and three per cent excellent.

Also, feed grain prices have pushed higher thanks to dry growing conditions on the Prairies. Excessive moisture in the U.S. Midwest also boosted prices.

We’re seeing lots of high numbers, as no one wants to be caught without anything over the summer,” said Nelson Neumann, a grains trader with Agfinity in Lethbridge.

Markets are waiting for precipitation, as the prolonged dry spell has begun to stress crops.

“Supplies are low, but if we see solid rain in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, that would drop the price substantially,” he said.

About the author

Glacier MarketsFarm

Marlo Glass writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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