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More rain, livestock producers needed for 2022

“The ups and down of the cattle industry are always's a five-year-cycle."
cows - livestock yard
Many livestock producers are selling their herds back to auctions at a significant loss.

As the 2021 'selling' season for cattle comes to an end in the Peace Country, the 2022 'buying' season is about to begin.

One sale of note, locally, is a bred cow and heifer sale set for 11 a.m. Saturday at VJV Dawson Creek.

However, not all sales translate into a strong industry. Yancy Crosier with VJV Livestock Marketing Group says a number of producers are selling stock they purchased just last year.

“It's good stock but it's unfortunate the cattle we're selling, we shouldn't be selling,” says Crosier.

“(in 2021) we sold the cows for 22, 24-hundred (dollars) that guys are now bringing back for 15-hundred.” Although it might be good for auction companies in the short term, it comes at a cost long term. “As much as we like to do a bred cow sale, the guys that are selling are sometimes going out of business,” says Crosier.

“In this sale, we have four or five dispersals so they'll be out of the industry, and we don't have a bunch of young people sitting here to buy those cows to have another 42-hundred, 50 cows at home.”

Extremely dry conditions, and now a pandemic, certainly haven't helped the industry, but Crosier believes there could be a turnaround come this fall.

“The ups and down of the cattle industry are always's a five-year-cycle,” in predicting the current situation, Crosier feels the industry is at the bottom of the cycle.

“I think the biggest issue we have (moving forward in 2022) is that people go to the store and meats are at the highest price they've ever been, yet the farmer raising the product is getting less money and his input costs have gone up twenty to thirty percent.”

Crosier says while farmers in Southern Alberta have adapted to drought-like conditions, using irrigation systems, farmers up here weren't as prepared for a drought, that in 2021, covered all of western Canada. “Thankfully, we had some extra hay (left) over,” says Crozier.

“Farmers kept a hundred bails, a couple of hundred bails, but if we get another drought this year, it could be catastrophic.”