Favourable pasture land conditions continue to keep yearlings out of Manitoba’s auction yards, according to Robin Hill, manager at Heartland Livestock in Virden.
“Yearlings have lots of grass out there,” he said. “Guys don’t need to sell them even though the prices are good. In our area, pasture conditions look really good due to the recent rains.”
According to Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ weekly crop report released Aug. 12, pasture conditions throughout most of the province are rated good to excellent.
The report said recent rains and warmer temperatures during the week ended Aug. 12 helped conditions. However, some pasture land in the province’s southwest is beginning to show grazing pressure.
Hill said he doesn’t see numbers picking up until mid-September at the earliest, but added there is a lot of interest from the U.S. now that some yearlings have entered the market.
“There’s a lot of interest coming from the West, East and the U.S.,” he said. “It’s a great position to be in as beef producers, and it looks like we’re in for a very nice fall of selling.”
Additionally, with an expected record U.S. corn crop, Canadian barley prices have moved lower, which benefits feeder cattle prices.
According to the Alberta Canola Producers Commission’s Aug. 16 report, Lethbridge barley was $4.08 per bushel, down more than $1 from the previous month.
“The U.S. corn crop is going to be a big factor in what barley is going to be priced at here in Manitoba,” Hill said. “The feed costs are going to be quite a bit lower than last year. Where it’s going to set out, no one knows yet, but we’re definitely seeing positive trade on the feeder cattle.”
The weak Canadian dollar has also led many U.S. buyers to look north of the border for butcher cattle, Hill said.
“Butchers went south of the border this week,” he said. “With where our dollar is sitting, there’s probably a little more profit on selling those cattle into that market. The U.S. is very aggressive on buying bulls.”
At the opening on Aug. 19, the Canadian dollar was worth US96.72 cents.
Increased interest in butcher cattle should help keep prices from drastically declining this fall, as many more cattle will soon be coming to auction, Hill said.
“We’re getting into that time of the year where volumes of butchers could increase in the next month,” he said. “I don’t know exactly when volume will increase, but it’s going to happen here in the next month.
“I think the volume of butchers coming in could affect prices,” he added.
As for feeder cattle, prices should stay relatively steady.
“The feeder trade is going to be very positive,” Hill said. “I’m not going to say prices will be higher, but I think if it stays right where it’s at, I’m going to keep everyone around me very happy.”