Challenging fall weather has not spared Manitoba’s cattle auction marts, as wet pastures and delayed harvests have limited the number of cattle coming to auction.
Allan Munroe of Killarney Auction Mart noticed cattle volumes were down at auction marts during the month of September.
“A lot of guys can’t get their cattle out from pasture, because there are standing crops in the way, or it’s too muddy for trailers to get in and out,” he said.
“With any luck this weather will straighten out, and we’ll get some cattle moving.”
Munroe noted warm, dry weather could improve conditions, as would a hard freeze. “It’s early to want a freeze, but it would make life easier.”
One silver lining in an otherwise perpetually grey cloud is that the rain has perked up hay and pasture land conditions, giving cattle plenty to eat for the time being.
A precarious market has led to variable prices, but consistent demand from Ontario has kept prices for heavyweight cattle fairly stable. This week, 700- to 800-lb. feeder steers were between $185 and $195 per hundredweight, fairly consistent with last week’s prices of $190-$195.
When weather starts to co-operate, Munroe expects “a huge run in a very short amount of time,” with large volumes of cattle coming to auction in October and November.
“With any luck, our feedlots will be ready and can take a lot of cattle quickly,” he said.
It’s going to be difficult to predict what will happen day to day.”