Only four of Manitoba’s eight major cattle auctions had sales last week, with sales numbers down compared to those before the holiday break.
For the week ending Jan. 11, auctions at Brandon, Grunthal, Virden and Winnipeg sold a total of 1,164 cattle, with weather having played a role in the lower numbers.
“We ran into some kind-of-stormy days on our receiving days, so our numbers were very small,” said Robin Hill of Heartland Livestock Services’ Jan. 9 Virden auction, which sold 409 head.
Bids for butcher cattle were up $2-$3 per hundredweight (cwt) and feeders were up generally by a few cents, he said.
Virden’s auction report listed feeder steers in the 400- to 500-lb. range sold for $215-$237/cwt on the high end, while feeder steers in the 900- to 1,000-lb. range went for $178-$187/cwt on the low end. Similar numbers were reported at Heartland’s Brandon auction and at Winnipeg Livestock Sales. Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart did not provide sales figures for feeders.
Hill is expecting business at the province’s cattle auctions will pick up over the next two months, but he expressed concern over the recent rise of the Canadian dollar, as the country’s cattle industry is dependent on exports.
“A lower dollar here last week definitely helped the feeder cattle and the butchers. (The dollar) is strengthening this week. It’s not going to be helping us. That’s going to be a big factor in the cattle industry.”
The other four auctions join the weekly fray this week, with Killarney on Jan. 14, followed by Gladstone on Jan. 15, Ashern on Jan. 16 and at Ste. Rose du Lac on Jan. 17.