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Traffic continues strong at most Manitoba livestock auctions

Cattle markets are climbing back up from the COVID-19 market scare

Some but not all Manitoba auction houses booked increases in cattle headed to sale between Feb. 14 and 20.

Gladstone Auction Mart was one of those reporting an increase, from 801 head on Feb. 11 to 1,114 on Feb. 18. Auctioneer Tyler Slawinski said Gladstone’s numbers are likely to hold up for now, as producers make room in pens for calving season in March and April.

Facilities at Ashern and Pipestone also reported numbers up by about 200 to 400 cattle compared to the week of Feb. 7-13, while other auctions, such as Grunthal and Killarney, saw declines of about 500 to 600 head on the week.

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While demand from Eastern and Western Canada remains fairly strong, there’s a more local aspect to the strength in the Manitoba market, Slawinski said.

“The biggest demand right now is for grass cattle for local demand,” he said, adding “some feedlots need to cycle out their finished cattle before restocking.”

Some Manitoba producers have been holding back cattle in hopes of better prices, he said, but they too will soon need to create pen space for calving season.

The auctioneer also noted the market has regained most of its strength since the coronavirus outbreak that shook up commodity and stock markets.

Helping the cattle market climb has been the electronic futures, “which has the power to turn this around more than anything,” he said.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), March feeder cattle gained US$5 per hundredweight this week, now at US$139/cwt. Live cattle on the CME gained US$3/cwt.

On another note, Manitoba Beef Producers District 9 director Dianne Riding of Lake Francis succeeded Tom Teichroeb as the association’s president earlier this month. She is the second woman to lead the MBP, following Betty Green from Fisher Branch who served as president from 2003 to 2005.

Riding is joined on the executive by District 7’s Tyler Fulton as first vice-president and Mike Duguid of District 10 as second vice-president. Nancy Howatt of District 2 is now secretary and District 3’s Peter Penner is MBP’s treasurer.

About the author

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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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