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Fewer cattle, softer prices ahead of summer slowdown

Last week’s sale at Virden saw the biggest drop in volumes

As spring carries on, with summer approaching, the Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart has seen its numbers slip a little, according to manager Harold Unrau.

“Prices were a little bit softer. Our head counts are down too, going into summer,” he said.

At Grunthal’s May 14 auction, 295 feeders and 88 slaughter cattle were sold. The week before, there were 275 feeders and 105 for slaughter.

Heartland Livestock Services’ Virden auction witnessed the largest drop of the auctions reporting in. On May 8, Virden sold 1,027 head altogether — and 494 on May 15.

With fewer cattle coming, some facilities have already moved to holding their auctions every second week. Killarney Auction Mart and Pipestone Livestock Sales won’t have auctions next week but will on May 27. Gladstone Auction Mart’s next sale will be May 28.

But Grunthal will stay with its weekly auctions.

“Regardless of the numbers, we will be open,” said Unrau, noting the market will be closed for July 2 and Aug. 6 following the long weekends.

Price-wise, feeder steers at Grunthal in the 600- to 700-lb. range went from $175 to $230 per hundredweight (cwt) on May 7, to $170-$213/cwt on May 14.

Feeder heifers (600-700 lbs.) saw their low-end price remain at $160/cwt, but the high end slipped to $179/cwt, from $191.

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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