Higher than average snowfall in the West Chilcotin has made preparing for calving a lot more work for ranchers. This picture, taken in mid-February on Dane Ranch in Kleena Kleene before an excavator, a cat, two dump trucks and tractors were put to work clearing the calving grounds. (Cordy Cox photo)

INDUSTRIAL UPDATE 2021: Calf sale prospects good for fall 2021

BC Livestock Producers Co-op Association makes some adaptations during COVID-19

Calf sales slated for this fall are looking promising, said Cordy Cox, general manager of the B.C. Livestock Producers Co-op Association.

“We are predicting there will be quite a bit of demand for beef and the prices should be quite solid for those fall calf sales.”

Busy herself with processing calves at the Dane Ranch that she and her husband Clint Ellis run at Kleena Kleene in the West Chilcotin, Cox said barring any economic disasters, it is looking positive and will be a relief to producers.

“The co-op is in a really good position,” said Cox, who was the interim general manager since February 2019 and won the competition for the position in November 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-op has been an essential service and continued to hold sales, but had to come up with different ways to do business.

Read more: Woodjam Ranch in Horsefly winners of BC Cattlemen’s sustainability award

Numerous bull sales are scheduled at the Williams Lake Stockyards and some online timed auctions as well as some live sales over the next two months, in addition to regular cattle sales.

Not being able to have big in-person equipment sales has been a big challenge for producers looking to sell equipment, Cox said.

The online sale platform, however, has been ‘really taking off,’ and is being used for cattle and equipment sales.

“That’s something that will be helpful — not just for COVID, but for the future,” she said.

“Unfortunately, they are not open to the public like they used to be and will be open to producers only. We have to watch the door and have space restrictions on how many people can be inside.”

With spring unfolding many ranchers have saturated ground that is presently covered with lots of snow, especially in the West Chilcotin,she noted.

“Anahim Lake has four feet of snow, Alexis Creek had some winter flooding, it’s quite crazy. People are hoping that people get vaccinated and the restrictions can ease so they can go back to a little more normal course of business and life.”

Their ranch sees calves delivered on a south-facing slope. To prepare they used a cat, two dump trucks, excavator and tractor to remove snow so it was bare, but everywhere else there was three feet of snow.

She said it is the most snow they have seen in 20 years.

“There’s not going to be a shortage of moisture, that’s the positive thing. If we get a bunch of heat then we will definitely get lots of feed.”

Read more: B.C. farmers and ranchers will be required to ID their livestock by end of 2021



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Harlow Ellis, 3, is learning the ropes at the calving barn, helping her mom saddle a horse for night shift and getting a ride in. Knowledge transfer to the next generation is a huge part of succession in ranching and cowboying. (Cordy Cox photo)

Harlow Ellis, 3, is learning the ropes at the calving barn, helping her mom saddle a horse for night shift and getting a ride in. Knowledge transfer to the next generation is a huge part of succession in ranching and cowboying. (Cordy Cox photo)

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