Despite the number of cattle headed to market declining with the greening of pastures, the Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart will continue to press ahead with its weekly auctions, according to manager and field rep Harold Unrau.
“We only shut down for the week of July long and the week of August long,” he said.
For Grunthal’s May 18 sale, only 170 head passed through, the good majority of them for slaughter. With 58 feeders, there were simply too few to provide good auction price data, Unrau said. He noted the slaughters were steady to up a nickel per pound compared to last week’s auction.
A total of 2,426 cattle went to auction across Manitoba for the week of May 14-20, a drop of about 43.5 per cent from the previous week as producers redirected their livestock to improving pastures, which will green further after rain brought a little bit of relief from the province’s drought conditions.
This has meant that some of the auctions have moved to a bi-weekly schedule. Ashern skipped last week and will have its next sale on May 26. Ste. Rose du Lac also sat out and has tentatively its next auction set for May 27.
Prices across Manitoba were relatively steady from week to week, as the 800- to 900-lb. feeder steers last week brought in $161-$179 per hundredweight. The previous week, these heavies garnered $158-$179/cwt.
Lighter feeder steers, such as those in the 400- to 500-lb. class, saw a bit of an increase, going from $205.50-$241/cwt last week to $215-$250/cwt.
Feeder heifers were little changed from week to week, with the 800- to 900-pounders going for $148-$159/cwt last week, compared to the previous week’s range of $144-$160.
The 400- to 500-lb. feeder heifers fetched $182-$212/cwt last week, having garnered $174-$210/cwt the previous week.
Pipestone in the air
The future of the Pipestone Livestock Auction remains uncertain, following a fire that destroyed the facility on March 1, said owner Gene Parks.
“As far as rebuilding, we haven’t decided,” he said, as negotiations continue with the facility’s insurance company.
“The cost of rebuilding and that, it would certainly be up in the air,” Parks added, suggesting the Pipestone facility could return to being a weekly cattle auction, or become a buying station or a feedlot.