Cattle producers struggling to find affordable feed after years of drought

'They’re getting whatever we can scrounge up to give them,' rancher says


Colleen Silverthorn, CBC News (Canada)

May 11, 2022


Cattle producers across the Prairies are struggling to find affordable feed for their livestock after years of successive drought that dried up pastures and pushed feed prices sky high.


"There's no feed to purchase," said Jeff Yorga, who ranches near Flintoft, 218 kilometres southwest of Regina.


"When we follow up on an opportunity to purchase something there is actually no feed available."


Yorga, a second-generation rancher, sold off part of his herd last year after being unable to feed all of the livestock through the winter. Years of drought had scorched his pasture land and left little for animals to graze.


What was left of his herd, about 300 head, was trucked east for winter feeding.


Now that his animals are back, the late, cool spring has delayed grazing on spring pasture land and forced Yorga to again go looking for other feed.


"They're getting whatever we can scrounge up to give them," he said, explaining that might include older straw or supplemental pellets.


"They have stuff to eat, but they don't have an abundance to eat. I question if they're ever full."


Yorga has heard that round bales are selling for as much as $275 each — nearly triple what they cost two springs ago — but even at that price he can't find any for sale.


"In a lot of cases, cattle are being moved from pastures with no grass to a different pasture with no grass," he said.


"All that we can do at this point is just cross our fingers for rain and hope for warmer weather."


Janice Bruynooghe, a co-ordinator with the Beef Cattle Research Council, said the feed shortage is concerning...


Grain prices skyrocketing due to drought and high oil prices ...