Markets were busy across the province during the week ended April 12, as producers hustle to sell off stock before a busy spring.
“We may have one big week after seeding, but this will be the last big-volume week,” Rick Wright of Heartland Buying Order Co. at Virden predicted.
As spring temperatures rise, demand has also increased for grass cattle. “We’re going to see strong activity on weaned cattle that are ready for grass,” Wright said.
Markets for cattle under 750 lbs. were considerably stronger, than previously seen, with prices five to eight cents per hundredweight (cwt) higher than in weeks past.
Demand was equally strong for heifers, with heifers (500-600 lbs.) fetching prices as high as $230/cwt in Grunthal.
Among heavier-weight cattle, steers (800-950 lbs.) were one to two cents higher than previously observed.
“At the beginning of the week, 950-lb. steers saw a steady market,” said Wright. Later in the week, prices fell slightly as buyers resisted higher prices.
“That was an adjustment in the market that producers weren’t ready to accept,” Wright commented.
While most cattle stayed local, some were sent south. The Canada/U.S. exchange rate will play a large role in where markets settle out.
African swine fever remains top of mind for market veterans. “If we get the right news, or wrong news depending on what side of the coin you’re on, it could make a huge difference in the protein market,” Wright said.
“We might see some unscheduled fluctuations and volatility, but nothing we can read into for sure.”
The Manitoba/Saskatchewan Auctioneering Championships will be held in Grunthal on May 4.