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Cattle still hitting auctions in numbers

Yet prices are staying relatively steady even in the face of the deliveries

Cattle sold at the major Manitoba auctions for the week ended Nov. 9 saw prices vary, with some dropping and others holding steady depending on the weight category.

“Generally they’re fairly steady. That’s always a positive,” said Allan Munroe of Killarney Auction Mart in Killarney.

Killarney’s Nov. 7 auction saw 700- to 800-lb. feeder steers sell for $190 to $205 per hundredweight (cwt) after fetching $195 cwt to $205 cwt at the Oct. 29 auction. And 400- to 500-lb. steers were virtually the same between the two auctions at lows of $225 cwt to highs of $250 cwt to $251 cwt. Feeder heifers between 600 to 800 lbs. remained at $170 cwt to $182 cwt.

Robin Hill of Heartland Livestock Service in Virden said prices are lower because of the amount of cattle coming to auction.

“We’re seeing big volumes everywhere, in Manitoba and west, even in the south. We’re dealing with lots of cattle coming on the market. We’re playing with probably 15 to 20 per cent of our new year’s cattle that are coming now because of feed shortages,” said Hill.

Approximately 9,700 head were sold at six of the eight major auction marts reporting for the week ended Nov. 9. That’s down from the 15,560 head reported by the eight major auctions for the week ended Nov. 2.

Virden witnessed price drops on almost all heifer weight categories. One of the most significant was 600- to 700-lb. heifers that went for $167 to $176 cwt on Nov. 7, but sold for $174 to $182 cwt the previous week.

Gladstone Auction Mart saw prices drop in most of the heifer categories at its Nov. 6 sale. One being 600- to 700-lb. heifers sold for $136 to $182 cwt, but went for $160 to $180 cwt on Oct. 30. Another was 300- to 400-lb. heifers that garnered $100 to $216 cwt last Tuesday after getting $180 to $219 cwt the week before.

Ashern Auction Mart saw a mix of prices, with 300- to 400-lb. steers going for $210 to $251 cwt on Nov. 7 after selling for $210 to $249 cwt on Oct. 31. Steers, 400 to 500 lbs., went for $200 to $236 cwt most recently and were $200 to $264 cwt the week before. Heifers, 300 to 400 lbs. pulled in $190 to $227 cwt on Nov. 7 after getting $190 to $204 cwt on Oct. 31.

Munroe and Hill commented buyers from Ontario and Quebec are taking a significant amount of cattle.

“They tend to take the cream of the crop. They like the fancier ones,” Munroe said.

Hill added some Manitoba cattle are being shipped westward and into United States.

As for the seasonal truck shortage, some auction marts said getting trucks for shipping has been a problem. Hill said it depends on how a person looks at the situation and that Virden moved all their cattle out at their sale on Nov. 7.

“There is a shortage, don’t get me wrong. I think the biggest thing is the volume. Every auction barn in Western Canada is dealing with bigger numbers than normal,” Hill said.

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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