The cattle auction yards in Manitoba continued to operate in a holiday-reduced atmosphere, but values for the cattle market held fully steady levels during the week ended June 29.
The fully steady levels came despite the “significant” drop seen in U.S. livestock futures over the same week, an industry official said.
“We had an increase in the grains, especially in corn prices in the U.S., and there was just some selling by speculators that pushed the U.S. cattle futures prices down,” said Rick Wright, a buyer with Heartland Order Buying Co.
Cattle prices in Manitoba managed to remain steady, he said, because offerings during the week were “very” light as there were only a few markets open.
Many cattle auction markets are slowing down sales, or shutting down for the summer because they don’t have enough volume to justify holding sales. For a schedule of what markets will be closed as part of the summer slowdown at cattle auction marts, please see the schedule table.
The Ste. Rose Auction Mart was supposed to hold one last sale before closing for the summer on June 28, but didn’t have enough animals on hand to hold the sale. It will reopen in the fall.
Strong demand, especially locally, also contributed to some of the price strength at Manitoba cattle auction marts during the week, Wright said.
“The projected markets in Manitoba for August, September and October are extremely strong and with that in mind, the cash price then looks like it could be stronger than it is now,” he said. “So, locally a lot of producers are buying up stock to put in their pastures, just speculating that the market will get better.”
Demand for slaughter cattle was also very strong, he said, especially in the U.S. because more people are eating cheaper cuts of meat such as hamburger during the barbecue season.
A neighbouring auction in Yorkton, Sask. saw over 600 slaughter cattle at auction during the week, Wright said. He said that’s “phenomenal” and sales saw a larger-than-normal number of cattle at auction, because of steady demand from the barbecue sector in the U.S.
Values and demand for slaughter cattle in Manitoba also remained above seasonal norms, he said. However, they weren’t as strong as they were in the week prior.
Most of the selling of cattle that happened in Manitoba this week was local and not for the export sector, he said. “There was very little exporting out of the province because there just weren’t enough cattle to build any herds.”
Wright predicts Manitoba cattle auction marts won’t see a lot of activity over the summer as producers send cattle out to pasture to fatten up.
Cattle farmers are probably going to wait to sell until the fall, he said, when prices are expected to be even stronger than they are now.
“It’s going to be a very quiet summer by the looks of things,” he said.