Just when things were turning around for the province’s ranchers, the industry now worries that drought conditions will derail any gains.
B.C. Cattlemens Association general manager Kevin Boon says hay production for winter stocks will be down drastically in B.C., and with dry conditions also affecting the prairies, he says feed prices will likely skyrocket later this year.
Boon says the last couple of years have been good to ranchers, after more than a decade of market downturns.
But depending on how long this current drought cycle lasts, it could be the final straw for smaller operations, or aging producers who will call it quits.
At the very least, he expects many producers will have to reduce their herds.
He says cutting a herd is easy, but rebuilding one is expensive and will take many years.
Although this will increase costs to ranchers, Boon says it won’t translate to higher prices at the meat counter as beef prices are based on the global commodity market.