Over 800 head of cattle processed at 2014 Manitoulin Island Cattle Exchange

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Cattle Exchange (MCE) has ended its second year on a high note, processing over 800 head of cattle at record high market prices at its Assiginack sales barn.

At its May sale, the MCE saw 202 head of cattle through the gates, 15 sellers and 11 buyers. On September 15 there were 202 head sold from 15 sellers and 11 buyers while November 15 was the biggest sale of the year were 231 head from 22 sellers and 12 buyers. The last sale of the year, which took place on Saturday, November 29, had 152 head from 15 sellers with 12 buyers attending the sale.

The Saturday sale brought in 68 steers and 69 heifers with steers fetching between $1,630 and $1,680 for animals weighing between 600 and 700 pounds; $1,385 and $1,495, 500 and 600 pounds; and $1,210 and $1,300 for steers between 400 and 500 pounds.

Heifers weighing 700 to 800 pounds brought in $1,720; 500 to 600 pounds, $1,305 to $1,410; and 400 to 500 pounds, $1,110 to $1,300.

“The thing with having a sale this late is you start to lose buyers,” Dave McDowell, who runs the MCE along with Dean Millsap of Evansville, explained. “But on the other hand, there are the guys who don’t want to start their feedlot yet.”

Mr. McDowell said there is “certainly a lot of optimism” for a Manitoulin sales barn. His only concern, he added, is that the cattle going to market were contracted at between $2.50 and $2.60 per pound for carcass weight whereas the markets are now at $3 per pound.

“I’m interested to see how this will affect the cost of beef at the supermarket,” he said. “Will this mean consumer resistance? In 40 years of farming, I’ve never seen the weather or the markets so wild.”