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Stronger supplies meet strong demand at auctions

Activity was back in the full swing of things at sale auction yards across Manitoba during the week ended Sept. 14.

All sale yards were holding cattle sales again after many took some summer holidays. Volume at most yards saw a pickup during the week, as more calves and yearlings were ready to be sold.

“We’re starting to see quite a few more cattle now,” said Brad Delgaty, market representative with Heartland Livestock Services in Brandon. “We’re getting into the fall and a lot of producers are starting to bring in more cattle because their calves are getting big enough and some people are running out of grass to feed them.”

Most of the auction yards across the province reported selling more cattle during the week. Some auction yards reported more than 1,000 cattle were sold at their facilities.

In addition to their regular weekly cattle sale, Heartland Livestock Services also held a pre-sort sale during the week. More than 1,400 cattle went through the ring in Brandon during the two sales combined.

Prices at both the regular and pre-sort sales were very strong on the feeder cattle side of the market, Delgaty said.

“We had just over 1,000 yearlings in the pre-sort sale, so we saw very strong prices,” he said. “We had some 900- to 1,000-pounders sell for $125-$134.25 per 100 pounds.”

Some producers who had yearlings left to sell brought them to the pre-sort sale and about 300 wet-nose calves sold as well, he said.

Much of the strength in prices was due to strong demand on the feeder side, Delgaty said. “The buyers are all coming back now and of course that will make a big difference for prices.”

Calf prices were strong during the week, even though it’s still early for them to be sold, Delgaty said. There was strong demand for calves, which helped to push prices up.

There are also fewer calves to be sold, which was supportive for prices, he said. “There’s not as many calves out there as there have been in the past few years, and there is a little more grain out there than what everybody expected so that helped the prices.”

High feed prices aren’t putting as much downward pressure on cattle prices as some participants had originally anticipated, he said.

“Some people thought with the high price of grain, the feeders were going to be low but we haven’t seen that,” he said. “If anything, prices should get stronger now as we see more numbers coming out.”

Cattle futures prices were also higher during the week, which helped to support cash prices at the auctions, Delgaty said.

Much of the demand for feeder cattle during the week came from the West, which is where most of the cattle sold went. Some cattle also went east, but none went south to the U.S., Delgaty said.

Continued strength in the Canadian dollar didn’t have a big effect on the market this week, he said, as it hasn’t seen many cattle go south lately.

However, he said, if the value of the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart dropped, it could help boost U.S. demand for Canadian feeder cattle.

Prices on the slaughter side of the market during the week remained mostly steady at the majority of sale yards across the province.

Steady demand and volume of slaughter cattle being sent to auction helped keep prices firm, Delgaty said.

About the author

Columnist

Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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