Bucking the trend of declining numbers of cattle going to auction; Ashern Auction Mart is still witnessing increasing numbers and expecting more.
Located near Ashern, Man. the auction had numbers jump by 21 percent for their Nov. 28 sale according to Manager Kirk Kiesman, and he’s expecting more for their Dec. 5 sale.
“I would say we are going to be 2,500 head this upcoming week and 1,500 to 1,800 the following week,” he commented, adding the numbers will likely drop come the Dec. 19 auction continuing into the New Year.
During the week of Nov. 26, there were 11,227 head ran through at Manitoba’s eight major cattle auctions compared to 15,055 the previous week. The 25 per cent drop largely marks the end of the fall rush.
Keisman said the fall rush often ends in Ashern a few weeks after the seven others.
According to reports issued by the major auctions the biggest drop over the week was at Ste. Rose Auction Mart Ltd. in Ste. Rose du Lac, Man with 1,320 fewer head sold Nov. 29. The previous sale on Nov. 22 sold 2,808.
Heartland Livestock Services’ location in Virden, Man. had a drop of 905 head to 2,239 for their Nov. 28 auction. And Grunthal Auction Mart in Grunthal, Man. had 990 cattle auctioned off their Nov. 27 sale, down by 782.
Keisman said auction prices have been steady for feeders over the last month.
“The last four weeks if you took the average, it probably hasn’t changed too much except for some variability and quality.”
On the low end all cattle prices at Ashern ranged from C$160 to C$200 per hundredweight (cwt) and C$185 to C$262 cwt on the high end.
At the other seven auctions, the low end ranged from C$100 to C$240 cwt, with the high end from C$155 to $280 cwt.
In terms of condition Keisman said the weaning weights have not changed much this year compared to previous years, maybe 15 pounds lighter even when taking into account the grass conditions.
Looking towards the New Year, Kiesman was unsure of what prices will do.
“I’ve been managing for six years and for three of those years prices went up and for three they went down.”
He said he would like to see prices remain steady or strengthen.
“The cows, we’ve definitely seen a drop. There’s a chance they’re going to be higher in the New Year on the feeder side.”