Holiday slow season nears at MB auctions

As the fall run wraps up at Manitoba auction marts and volumes start to drop, any cattle that aren’t in top form are selling for discounts.

“Guys are getting are a little fussier on the quality and the discounts for non-performing type cattle are getting a little steeper,” said Allan Munroe of Killarney Auction Mart. Feedlot capacities are getting full and buyers no longer want to take the risk on cattle that may not ship well.

There was 10,351 head ran through the provinces eight major auction marts for the week ended Dec. 7. This was down from the previous week where 11,227 head were sold. Auction volume has been decreasing over the past few weeks as the fall run wraps up.

At Killarney Auction Mart, Munroe saw a record fall run with large volumes. Due to the drought in the summer, some producers were forced to cull their herds for feed supply management. According to Munroe, in September they sold two and a half times the amount of cattle that they did the previous year.

“Our numbers were incredible. With the drought we saw in July (and) August, September started out extremely busy,” he said.

Now as the holiday season nears, sale sizes are smaller as many auction marts prepare for the holiday break. At Killarney Auction Mart there are only two sales left before Christmas, however Munroe is cautioning producers to hold off on selling the week before Christmas if possible.

“It’s traditionally not a super strong feeder sale, so we try and get them in on the tenth instead of the seventeenth … and then we try and encourage people to hold off until after the New Year for anything after that, other than if they need a little bit of Christmas money,” he said.

Prices were steady at Manitoba auction marts for the week ended Dec. 7. Steers weighted 600 to 700 pounds ranged from C$144 to C$210 per hundredweight (cwt). Heifers the same weight ranged from C$100 to C$197.25 cwt.

“We’re seeing a bit more variation in quality this time of year. We have calves that are right off the cow, we get ones that are crept fed, we’ve got ones that are backgrounded,” Munroe said. This leads to more variation amongst prices at the auction marts across the province.

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