It was a great start to the fall auction season at Killarney Auction Mart, as the southwestern livestock market recorded its largest start for the fall run in recent memory.
There were “a lot of cows and a lot of yearlings that would be spread out over the next month (but instead sold at) this sale. And (there was a) pretty good selection of calves already too, more than we’d expect normally,” said Allan Munroe of Killarney Auction Mart.
The auction mart held its first sale of the fall run on Sept. 10. Killarney regularly shuts down during the slow summer season and hasn’t held a sale since the start of June. This week’s sale saw a total of more than 850 already sold, where Munroe said usually the market would get around 200 or 300 head at this time of year.
Auction marts across the province have been seeing large volumes of cattle over the last few weeks due to a feed shortage. Dry conditions over the summer led to reduced hay cuts and scorched pastures. Producers have been forced to switch to feeding already, with many selling cattle earlier than usual.
About 8,600 head ran through the province’s eight major auction marts for the week ended Sept. 14. That’s well up from last week, when about 4,400 sold, but this was the first week in which all the province’s auction marts were open following the summer slowdown.
Cow prices were “tough,” according to Munroe. He thinks prices are coming down, as buyers are expecting higher volumes of cattle in the upcoming weeks.
“There’s still a lot of fats moving through the system. So add all these cows to the mix and they’re going to affect the price,” he said.
Munroe was surprised by the sale prices for yearlings — and calves were selling for higher than last year at this time, he said.
Feeder steers (700-800 lbs.) sold for $153-$218.75 per hundredweight. Feeder heifers the same weight sold at $110-$195/cwt. On the slaughter side, heiferettes went for $90-$133/cwt.
Munroe expects the fall run to be busy in the upcoming weeks, with a higher percentage of cattle being sold during the autumn compared to the spring.
“It’s going to be an old-fashioned fall run. Everyone in this business is going to be busy, because guys are trying to manage their feed supply and a lot of that management is culling beef in the cow herd,” he said.