‘It’s a five year cycle… we’re at the bottom of that cycle’
As the 2021 selling season for cattle comes to an end in the Peace Country, the 2022 buying season is beginning to ramp up.
However, auctions and sales don’t necessarily 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 $2200-$2400 that guys are now bringing back for $1500.”
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.”
Extremely dry conditions, and now a pandemic, certainly haven’t helped the industry, but Crosier believes there could be a turnaround come this fall. In predicting the current situation, Crosier feels the industry is at the bottom of the cycle.
“The ups and down of the cattle industry are always there… it’s a five-year-cycle,” Crosier says.
“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 20 to 30 per cent.”
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.”