Rising Chicago futures lift prices against higher loonie

Sale prices rose a few dollars, Virden’s Hill reports

Auction prices increased this week by $2-$3 per hundredweight (cwt) at Heartland Livestock Services’ auction at Virden on July 22, according to Robin Hill, the auction’s manager.

“The one thing about the feeder cattle, we’ve really seen the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) really take off last week,” he said.

Futures values at the CME are one of the factors to determine auction prices elsewhere, such as in Manitoba.

Virden was one of three auctions this week in Manitoba; the others were at Grunthal and at Heartland’s Brandon facility. Most other auction barns are closed for the summer and Winnipeg has biweekly sales. Hill noted some of the cattle auctions in Saskatchewan were also on a biweekly schedule.

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“Maybe there is a little shortage on the cows and bulls, on certain weeks with no sales,” he said.

Although the Canadian dollar has been on the rise lately, Hill said it hasn’t affected auction prices.

“On the higher dollar, it should have been the other way around,” he said.

With barbecue season in full swing, demand for meat is up. However, Hill cautioned, there are still backlogs at feedlots and packing plants, which could take about a month to clear up.

Of the feeder cattle at Virden, steers in the 800- to 900-lb. category fetched $174-$192.50/cwt and heifers of the same weights garnered $154-$169. Lighter classes brought in $210-$235/cwt for 400- to 500-lb. steers, and $190-$215 for heifers.

Among the slaughter markets, mature bulls at Virden were $109-$124/cwt, with those in Brandon having gone for $110-$120; in Grunthal they were $100-$118.75.

Altogether 754 feeder and slaughter cattle were sold at the three auctions this week, with 503 at Virden.

Come Aug. 5, the Virden site reverts to weekly auctions, Hill said.

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Glen Hallick - MarketsFarm

Glen Hallick writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. He previously reported for Postmedia newspapers in southern Manitoba and the province’s Interlake region.

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