Weekly Manitoba Cattle Report: Good market for lightweights

WINNIPEG – Lightweight cattle continue to do quite well at Manitoba cattle auctions, according to two people heavily involved with the cattle industry.

“Lightweights were up quite a bit. Anything that’s under 600 pounds, going to the grass, certainly has a strong market,” said Harold Unrau of Grunthal Livestock Auction Market.

At Grunthal’s Feb. 12 auction feeder steers less than 400 pounds fetched C$230 to C$265 per hundredweight (cwt), while those in the 400 to 500-pound range garnered C$225.00 to C$260 per cwt. Feeder steers in the 500 to 600-pound category brought in C$200 to C$260 per cwt.

Those were increases of C$10 to C$30 per cwt since the end of January, according to Grunthal’s cattle reports.

Prices were similar at several other Manitoba auctions, with feeder steers 300 to 400 pounds at the Killarney Auction Mart having sold for C$240 to C$260 per cwt. At the Ste. Rose Auction Mart, feeder steers 400 to 500 pounds went for C$215 to C$262 per cwt. At Heartland Livestock Service’s Brandon auction, feeder steers 500 to 600 pounds earned C$215 to C$236 per cwt.

Brian Perillat of CanFax agreed the lightweights have been getting good prices, but not the heavyweights.

“Some of the heavy feeders, once they’re 700 to 800 pounds, they have got to go to the feedlot and they’re under pressure,” he said, adding that has some feedlots have been losing money of late.

And to Unrau, prices for heavy cattle are not going to improve any time soon.

“They’re definitely not going up by the looks of things,” he noted.

One aspect in which numbers were up at the province’s cattle auction was the number sold this week. Frigid temperatures and blowing snow during the two previous weeks forced some auctions to cancel or postpone their sales, or do the best they could with fewer cattle. Overall, 12,638 cattle were sold between Feb. 11 to 14, which was close to twice the amount sold the previous week.

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