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Cattle volumes dialled up at Manitoba’s markets

Activity at auction marts across Manitoba was starting to get back to normal during the week ended Sept. 7, with most sale yards open for business again after taking a break for the summer.

All the auction yards held sales during the week ended Friday, with the exception of Taylor Auctions at Melita, and Killarney Auction Mart.

Killarney Auction Mart will hold its first sale after taking a break for the summer on Sept. 10, said Allan Munroe from the company.

Sadly, Taylor Auctions was not open during the week because the company has decided it will no longer hold any sales.

A release from the company explained that it decided to stop holding sales because of the “extreme” costs that would be necessary to upgrade facilities, on top of a labour shortage and diminishing cattle numbers.

The release also noted that the company will not be closing its doors for good and will continue to assist customers with the marketing of their cattle.

“We are not finished in the livestock business, just changing in ways we hope will help you and us in the years to come. We have joined forces with NBI and Heartland with the intent to serve our customers better by providing more options for them as well as allowing us to stay very active in the livestock business,” the release stated.

Pasture under pressure

Volume started to pick up even more steam than during the previous week and is expected to be fully back to normal by the middle to end of September.

Harvest operations started to wrap up across the province which enticed some farmers in Manitoba to send their cattle to auction during the week, said Scott Anderson, field representative with Winnipeg Livestock Sales.

He also said some producers are running out of pasture because of dry weather, which made sending cattle into the ring an attractive option for them.

“A lot of areas are dry,” he said. “A few guys have been feeding a little bit of hay already, which starts to get expensive. They’ve had to start using up their winter supply and they don’t like to do that very often.”

Prices on the feeder side of the market remained strong during the week, as an increase in both volume and demand provided support for the market, Anderson said.

“There were more calves around, so more guys were starting to come out to buy,” Anderson said. “Activity is starting to pick up again; we had about 800 cattle at our sale this week. It’s a little easier to buy when there’s that many.”

Anderson said livestock producers in the province were also enticed to send cattle to sale because the market is stronger than most people had anticipated.

Most of the demand was coming from Canadian buyers, as Canadian cattle weren’t very attractive to U.S. buyers because of a very strong Canadian dollar, Anderson said.

Strong Canadian employment data helped the Canadian dollar to soar even further above parity with its U.S. counterpart late in the week. At the close of trade on Sept. 7, the Canadian dollar was worth US$1.0223.

Anderson said most of the calves from the sale during the week were headed east, while half of the yearlings sold went east and the other half were headed west.

Activity on the slaughter market was on the slower side, but demand and volumes remained steady enough to keep prices from falling.

Cow prices were a little bit stronger compared to the week prior, Anderson said, while bulls sold at fully steady prices. The barbecue season is lasting a little bit longer, which helped to sustain the slaughter market, he said.

About the author

Columnist

Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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