While last summer’s drought was severely damaging for the cattle industry in Manitoba, the fall run has already got off to a great start. All eight cattle auction sites in the province hosted regular sales during the week ended Sept. 30.
“It’s just starting to get going,” said Keith Cleaver, manager of Heartland Livestock Services in Brandon. “That rain that we got a month ago gave everybody a little bit of breathing room.”
In total, 8,800 cattle went through the rings at Manitoba auction sites during the week, a 64 per cent increase from the 5,350 head sold the week before. This was the third straight week in which the number of cattle sold was greater than in the previous week.
“Everything seemed to be selling quite well,” Cleaver said. “The yearlings are quite strong. Heavy calves are real good… In general, the market has been very steady and strong.”
The HLS site in Brandon saw the biggest weekly increase, from 222 at its sale on Sept. 21 to 1,032 one week later. Its sister site in Virden hosted a sale on Sept. 29 at which 3,357 feeders and butchers were sold.
The new influx of cattle didn’t seem to lower prices. Bids for lightweight cattle increased at most sales, including Gladstone where a sale of $301 per hundredweight was recorded for a steer weighing 400 lbs. or less. The maximum price in that weight range during the week was not lower than $269/cwt, up $18 from the previous week.
“The light calves are quite strong,” Cleaver added. “I think there’s good demand. There are still not a lot of calves floating yet.”
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the most frequently traded December live cattle contract closed at US$125.75/cwt on Sept. 30, hitting its lowest point since June 1. The November feeder cattle contract closed at US$152.90/cwt on Sept. 30, also sinking to a four-month low.
Cleaver mentioned there has been demand for cattle that has been strong from all directions.
“Cattle are going east and west. There are some cattle going south, more so on the yearlings. But the majority are staying in Canada,” he said. “I think for the next few weeks, (sales) look like they should remain fairly steady.”
Manitoba Beef Producers has announced meetings for odd-numbered districts will all be conducted virtually, on Oct. 19 and Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. MBP explained the decision was made due to COVID-19 concerns and the fact there will be no elections held in odd-numbered districts.
MBP will email each registered attendee a package of materials and a Zoom link (with call-in number) about 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
In even-numbered districts where elections will be held, meetings will still be in person as per the table shown below. Log on to mbbeef.ca/our-news/district-meetings/ for registration links to all district meetings.