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Cattle auctions wait to see when harvest resumes

The fall run is expected to start in a few weeks

As Manitoba’s Thanksgiving snowstorm put a crimp on the number of cattle going to market over the last week, it could also have an effect on feed grain prices, according to one auctioneer.

Tyler Slawinski of Gladstone Auction Mart said there could be an abundance of feed grain this winter, provided farmers can get back into their fields to finish the 2019 harvest.

If the harvest doesn’t resume, feed prices will likely increase, he said.

“There’s talk that some of the crop may not even be harvested, whereas everyone thought there was going to be a real abundance of feed grain,” he said.

Cattle numbers were somewhat lower for Gladstone’s Oct. 15 auction, he noted, given the huge amount of snow that fell on southern Manitoba.

“This was a Thanksgiving most of us will remember for a long time,” he said, adding the auction processed 352 cattle compared to the 859 the previous week.

Among Manitoba’s major cattle auctions, the Killarney Auction Mart rescheduled its sale from Oct. 14 to Oct. 17, due to Thanksgiving and not the snow.

The Oct. 11 report from Winnipeg Livestock Sales stated its numbers were down significantly due in part to poor road conditions. The auction saw 460 head pass through compared to 1,100 on Oct. 4.

Elsewhere, Heartland Brandon’s cattle count fell from 1,504 head on Oct. 8 to 605 on Oct. 15. Ashern Auction Mart, which saw 1,853 cattle sold on Oct. 9, dropped to 446 on Oct. 16. Heartland Virden saw an increase, however, from 2,239 to 3,519.

With the winter-like conditions coming so soon, Slawinski said prices for lighter calves were a little bit softer, as feedlots aren’t interested in stocking them.

On the other hand, the long-weekend storm provided support for prices on heavier calves.

“They can be exported east, west or south as they can be put right into the feedlot,” Slawinski said.

As the season progresses he expects the fall run to take off in about two or three weeks.

About the author

Columnist

Glen Hallick writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. He previously reported for Postmedia newspapers in southern Manitoba and the province’s Interlake region.

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