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Rising Chicago futures support Manitoba values

Availability of trucks may soon become a market issue

Cattle prices rose at Manitoba auction marts during the week ended Oct. 27, as futures prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange helped push up sales.

“Just about every day it’s been positive (on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and that’s what is holding the market probably together on the feeder cattle,” said Robin Hill with Heartland Livestock Services at Virden.

About 17,200 head were sold at the province’s eight major auction marts during the week, up by over 3,500 head from the previous week, when 13,694 were sold.

Feeder cattle prices rose anywhere from $1 to $20. Steers (800-900 lbs.) sold from $165 to as high as $223 per hundredweight. For heifers (800-900 lbs.) prices were slightly lower, with some going for as low as $135 to as high as $190/cwt.

On the slaughter market, prices varied, with some auction marts seeing increases while others saw decreases. Prices for mature bulls ranged across the province from $75 to $125.50/cwt.

The CME live cattle futures market reached its highest level in nearly three months on Oct. 26. Packers bid US$111/cwt for slaughter-ready cattle in the U.S. Plains, versus US$116 for asking prices.

In Canada, Hill said, this spells good news for cattle producers.

“If we ever see a big dive in (Chicago futures) on the feeders or the live fat cattle we could see a change in the feeder cattle fairly quickly,” he said.

In Virden this week Hill saw aggressive trade with a long front row of order buyers. Cattle mostly were sold to western and eastern feedlots.

“There’s not much interest in the south because our cattle in Canada are worth as much or more than their cattle are with the exchange rate,” Hill said.

As well, prices are up from this time last year. According to Hill, producers at Virden are getting 45 to 50 cents a pound more.

Volume is up as well. With bills coming due at the end of October and start of November, Hill said this week usually marks one of the busiest runs of the year. He estimated the auction mart is within 120 head of what was sold last year at this time.

Hill expects the next week to be busy as well, with the run starting to slow slightly after that.

Heading forward, he said, “volume is going to be the biggest issue for the next four weeks… the availability of trucks to haul the cattle from the auction barns to their next destination, that’s always a factor this time of year.”

The sale week also corresponded with Manitoba’s official Beef Week, which recognizes the contribution about 6,500 beef producers make to the provincial economy.

About the author

CNSC

Ashley Robinson writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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