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Higher prices make for a larger fall cattle run

Auction marts are still as busy as ever but watchers expect volumes to fall soon

Prices have remained high as large volumes of cattle went through the Manitoba auction marts during the week ended Nov. 24.

“(There are) big volumes of cattle moving across the west, or here in Manitoba. And I think from now on we’re going to see less volume,” said Robin Hill of Heartland Livestock Services – Virden.

Approximately 14,300 head were sold at the province’s eight major auction marts during the week ended Nov. 24, down from the previous week where 17,350 were sold.

Across the province volume fell slightly. Ashern Auction Mart was down by approximately 400 from the previous week to 1,547, while Virden fell by approximately 800 to 3,455. Even with numbers down slightly the volume is still up compared to last year.

“The weather’s co-operated a lot better this year than last fall. Last fall we were really rainy, or it was really wet, kind of poor weather to be weaning calves, or selling calves. So a lot of them got weaned last year and maybe were fed into January, February, March,” Hill said.

As well, high prices are enticing farmers to sell cattle this fall. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has been on the higher end this year with cattle selling at US$120 per hundredweight, as of Nov. 22, which is up $1 from the previous week.

“Price-wise I’m watching the Chicago Board of Trade like everybody else. And we could, like the possibility with smaller volumes, we could see a market get maybe not as fluctuated as we see sometimes in the busiest season,” Hill said.

At Virden 600- to 700-pound feeder steers sold at $207 to $223 cwt, down $3 from the previous week. Heifers the same weight sold at $177 to $192 cwt, down approximately $3 from the previous week as well.

Hill said while prices have fallen over the last week at Virden, they are up from last year at this time. He estimates producers are making 20 to 25 cents per pound more this year, which equals $150 more for a 600-pound calf.

“(Producers are) going to keep selling them because it’s still very good money,” he said.

Heading into December volumes are going to start falling, according to Hill. The first two weeks of the month will be busy, while the week before Christmas it will quiet down.

About the author

CNSC

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

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