Activity was slowly picking back up at Manitoba’s cattle auction yards in the days after Labour Day, although the fall run won’t start in earnest until October.
Volumes were generally light during the week, with yearlings and butcher cows accounting for much of the activity.
Rick Wright of Heartland Order Buying said the cow market was coming under some seasonal pressure as packers concentrate on processing fed cattle.
For yearlings, the market was exceeding expectations as “the demand is there, and space at the feedlots is a bit of an issue,” according to Wright.
Ontario was buying yearlings out of Manitoba, which was taking some additional pressure out of the market, he said.
The yearling run will soon dry up, with attention turning to the fall run by late September or early October.
“There is lots of demand for the calves,” Wright said, pointing to ample feed supplies and good yard conditions.
In 2019 the fall weather was terrible. With muddy pens and a late silage harvest, it was a struggle all around.
“This year, we’re getting the harvest off in good shape… pens are dry, and they’re ready to start bringing in calves,” Wright said, adding that “in general everyone is pleasantly surprised.”
While cold temperatures may be starting to take a toll on pasture land, most producers are still busy with harvest and other fall work and “there’s not a rush to move the cattle.”
Calves, he said, “are putting on some cheap pounds now.”
Feeder steers in the 500- to 600-lb. range were trading anywhere from $200 to $260 per hundredweight across the province during the week. Feeder heifers in the same weight class were in the $180- to $210-per-tonne range.