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Lightweights show strength at Manitoba auction sales

Quantities of cattle were up from previous frosty weeks

Lightweight cattle continue to do quite well at Manitoba cattle auctions, according to two people heavily involved with the cattle industry.

“Lightweights were up quite a bit. Anything that’s under 600 lbs., going to the grass, certainly has a strong market,” said Harold Unrau of Grunthal Livestock Auction Market.

At Grunthal’s Feb. 12 auction, feeder steers under 400 lbs. fetched $230-$265 per hundredweight (cwt), while those in the 400- to 500-lb. range garnered $225-$260/cwt. Feeder steers in the 500- to 600-lb. category brought in $200-$260/cwt.

Those were increases of $10-$30/cwt since the end of January, according to Grunthal’s cattle reports.

Prices were similar at several other Manitoba auctions, with feeder steers (300-400 lbs.) at Killarney Auction Mart having sold for $240-$260/cwt. At Ste. Rose Auction Mart, feeder steers (400-500 lbs.) went for $215-$262/cwt. At Heartland Livestock Services’ Brandon auction, feeder steers (500-600 lbs.) earned $215-$236/cwt.

Brian Perillat of CanFax agreed lightweights have been getting good prices — but not so for the heavyweights.

“Some of the heavy feeders, once they’re 700-800 lbs., they have got to go to the feedlot and they’re under pressure,” he said, adding some feedlots have been losing money of late.

To Unrau, prices for heavy cattle are not going to improve any time soon. “They’re definitely not going up, by the looks of things,” he noted.

One aspect in which numbers were up at the province’s cattle auctions was the number sold this week. Frigid temperatures and blowing snow during the two previous weeks forced some auctions to cancel or postpone their sales, or do the best they could with fewer cattle.

Overall, 12,638 cattle were sold between Feb. 11 and 14, which was close to twice the amount sold the previous week.

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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