The cattle sale in Stratton on Saturday saw over 1,700 animals go through the ring, generating a total of $1.77-million for farmers across the district.
The number of animals sold at the sale was higher than usual which could be attributed to district producers calving later in the year, according to Rainy River Cattleman Association (RRCA) member and longtime sales barn volunteer Kim Jo Bliss.
Traditionally people calved between January and March but as herd sizes increase more people are pushing their calving until April, May, or June, so the animals aren’t ready until a little later in the year.
“These later season sales are just going to keep increasing, because if you don’t calve until later than your cattle aren’t ready to go to market at the end of September,” Bliss reasoned.
“So the October sales and November sales are going to just keep getting bigger because that’s when people’s calves are six months [old] and ready to go to market.”
Bliss said Saturday’s sale had stronger prices for calves and yearlings than the Sept. 28 sale, while prices for cows and bulls may have slid slightly.
She told the Times it’s normal for cow and bull prices to lower this time go year because they’re generally used for burger and trim, which is more popular among consumers during BBQ season.
“It’s common for cow prices to kind of be a little higher through the summer and then they kind of drop off through the winter,” Bliss explained.
“It’s not just lower in Stratton–if you compare markets, we’re pretty much the same as elsewhere.”
There is a large price difference right now between steer (male) calves and heifer (female) calves, but Bliss said there really shouldn’t be too much disparity.
“Sometimes I think that’s a little more drastic than it should be because, at the end of the day when you eat the steak on your plate, you cannot tell if it was a heifer or a steer,” she noted.
Meanwhile, overly wet weather has created issues for many local cattle farmers.
Over the past couple of weeks the district has had high levels of precipitation which makes it more difficult to move cattle.
“You can’t chase cattle when your feet are stuck in the mud,” Bliss explained.
In terms of the fire at the sales barn that burnt a couple pens in late September, the RRCA have not yet hear back from insurance but Bliss said they’ll be planning through the wintertime to determine how to best repair the damaged area.
The fifth and final cattle sale for the year will be held at the Stratton sales barn on Nov. 2.