The second cattle sale of the year is coming to the Stratton sales barn on Saturday, Sept. 7, where around 1,000 animals will be put through the ring.
While some animals may come from Dryden or Thunder Bay, almost all of the cattle sold is sourced from the Rainy River district.
This year’s second sale comes later than years prior, it’s typically held the weekend after the Emo Fair but the Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association (RRCA) decided to host it on the weekend after Labour Day.
“We’re hoping that was the right move, we haven’t had any negative feedback at this point,” said Kim Jo Bliss, longtime sales barn volunteer and RRCA member.
“It’s really pasture related and if you have yearlings, often people are ready to get them gone, especially if pasture is tight.”
Bliss told the Times local farmers and producers are very fortunate to have a sales barn in the district where they can sell their cattle close to home.
“We are fairly unique–there’s not a lot of district’s especially in Northwestern Ontario that even have a sales barn,” she explained.
“It’s exciting for the producer because you really only get paid when you market cattle, and that could only be once or twice a year, so it’s a pretty exciting and a somewhat stressful time as well.”
The cattle sale was first created to provide a viable option to producers who would like to market their cattle locally.
“That’s how the barn was built in the early days,” Bliss said. “In the 1960s, they felt there was a need for people to market cattle and we had enough cattle that we could set this up and market right at home.
“So your able to market your cattle without putting them in a truck and going a great distance,” she added.
Bliss also noted that the cattle sale’s have a significant financial impact on the district as the farmers generally spend all their money locally after receiving pay for their animals.
She’s unsure of what the prices might look like at the fall sale but said the district is known for its cattle and usually does quite well.
“We often have enough pressure and buyer influence that our prices are sometimes a bit higher than the west,” Bliss explained.
Anywhere from eight to 20 buyers will attend the sale with some of the buyers being local.
“The main buyers are sort of order buyers, so a guy sends them an order and they purchase cattle for them,” Bliss explained.
Roughly half the cattle will be transported east of the district to southern Ontario while the other half will be transported west to Manitoba.
As for turnout, there’s usually a good crowd in the stands at the cattle sale, especially in the morning.
“We hope to see everybody out, if they want to just check out the auction or come for a lunch or coffee, we’re happy with that all the time,” Bliss said.
“The auctioneer always tells us he never sells a sale like ours because we do get so many people.
“We’re fortunate that people even if they’re not selling, they still come and check things out,” she added.
Going forward Bliss said the RRCA and volunteers will be doing some work on the bigger pens at the sales barn to make things better for the cattle and people who work the sales.
“We’re trying to have less congestion and streamline the process just so there’s less errors,” she reasoned.
“We just keep looking for ways to make it an easier task because it is a lot of work, getting all the cattle in, you got to keep them all organized and separate and so we just keep working to make that a better process.”
Bliss encourages anyone who’s never been to a cattle sale to come out and witness the live auction.