Western Canada's cattle market continues its strong fall run with steady pricing combined with a cattle-packed auction block.
With the cow-calf run nearly wrapped up, Heartland Livestock in Swift Current is reporting an unprecedented amount of cattle during the run.
Roughly 65,000 cattle were auctioned off during a 60-day span, a feat that auctioneer Donnie Peacock doesn't think has been accomplished since the 1980s.
"It's more intense than normal, that is for sure, and it's not just here (in the southwest) that the big calf numbers have been," he said. "We don't get a whole lot of time to sleep this time of year when it's this active. The calf market has been good - that's facilitated it and a lot of people are a little scared of going into next summer with a big inventory in case it doesn't rain."
Other drivers in the big calf run were the solid returns coupled with pea and lentils sales down this year, pushing some farmers to sell extra cattle to make up for the cash flow. Peacock added that a lot of people are doing pre-doubt management with most worried about extended drought conditions.
"They remember the 80s and they remember 30s, they're just going to have themselves sitting in good shape in case it's dry this spring," he said. "If it does get wet, I would suspect cattle are going to be priced like gold to grasp cattle."
Even with the large influx of cattle this year, the market is trading significantly stronger than last year.
"Last fall wasn't a lot of fun," Peacock said. "Throughout the fall (this year) we started at $300 a calf more than they were in the same sales than they were a year previous. That has narrowed, last fall's market calf market climbed through the year and through the year this year has kind of levelled and maybe softened a bit to about $150 a head more than last year, which are pretty substantial numbers."
Peacock added that over the last six weeks the cull cow run has been huge. They had 1,100 head this week so far and that's been the smallest amount by far during that six-week window.
The stockyards in Swift Current normally sells on average 100,000 cattle a year, and Peacock is expecting that number to see an increase of 10 to 20 per cent by the end of the year.
"When you handle 100,000 cattle, 10 per cent more is a lot of cattle and 20 per cent would put us in that 120,000 range," he said. "There have been a lot of cattle sold this year."