EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta farmers are selling off cattle at an alarming rate — a move that could have far-reaching implications for livestock haulers.
Serious drought conditions have plagued 75 per cent of Alberta this summer causing the cost of hay to skyrocket and availability of pasture to diminish. Many farmers are selling off their herds before the winter because of the cost of hay, and that could seriously hurt the Alberta farm industry, according to some observers.
“A lot of guys are just dumping animals,” says Barry Ness, manager of an Alberta agriculture supply business. “They’re just dumping their herds and getting out of the cattle business.”
“I don’t think politicians realize how much of a disaster we’ve got,” farmer Ron Pederson tells local media. “If the cows leave Alberta, we don’t have Alberta beef anymore.”
Stats indicate 28 per cent more cattle have been slaughtered in the second quarter of this year compared to last year.
“In the worst case scenario you could see reductions (in the cattle population) of up to one third,” predicts Alberta Cattle Commission spokesman Ron Glaser. “A lot of it will be weather driven. If we have another bad year next year it will be worse.”
While that may mean increased livestock shipments in the short-term, cattle haulers may have to look for other freight to haul if the trend continues in coming years.
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