Manitoba cattle market holding steady as summer nears

Winnipeg (CNS Canada) – Even though things are starting to slow down at Manitoba auction marts for the summer, business held steady for the week ended June 8.

“The market numbers this week, for those markets that had sales, deliveries were actually higher than anticipated,” said Rick Wright of Heartland Buying Order Co.

There was about 1,913 head run through the province’s auction marts. Only four of the eight main Manitoba auction marts held sales.

The changing weather conditions played into this week’s run. Large areas of Manitoba received much needed precipitation; however some producers were still concerned about pasture conditions which led them to sell.

“(Producers are) still culling heavily because producers are worried about pasture conditions, they’re also worried about hay,” Wright said, adding that he doesn’t think the hay crop will be anything above average.

Wright expects throughout the summer there could be heavier numbers of cattle coming into the market than seen in years past. While the latest rains helped replenish pastures and dugouts there is still concern if the moisture doesn’t continue conditions could turn dry again.

“Normally the yearlings don’t come (to sale) until the last week of August and into September. But if it gets dry we could see cattle pull off the pastures earlier than what they (normally) are,” Wright said.

The market held generally steady for prices during the week especially for grass weight cattle, according to Wright. There was a two to four cent per pound increase for heifers. The finished cattle market didn’t fare as good, with a drop that started a month ago continued. Over the last month prices have dropped about 20 cents per pound.

“For those that are finishing cattle, whether it’s in Manitoba or the west, profits start to shrink on those cattle and it’ll affect their buying patterns of what they restock with down the road,” Wright said, adding that he can’t see any relief coming soon for the fed cattle market.

Overall the entire market complex is down from where it was last year at this time, according to Wright.

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