How on earth did it get to be December, again, already — so quickly?
Personally, I am feeling some what Hum-Bug(ish) in any case, as once again circumstances have conspired against the cattle industry at a most crucial period in their annual cycle.
At a time when many operations are still bringing their marketable animals in to sell, the market has dropped off badly with sale prices going from pretty good to not-so-hot within a month.
It seems, to stay in the cattle business in the Cariboo one must adopt the characteristics of an old punch-drunk fighter; ducking, weaving, bending, stumbling (yet not quite going down) — standing strong while trying to evade yet another punishing blow.
After a while, one wonders what on earth compels him to stay in the ring.
Has the collateral damage been so great that he can’t process the cost or has he simply been in the game so long that he can imagine no other life?
Comparatively, the cattlemen of the Cariboo must be pondering how long they will have to stand-strong as they wait for markets to steady and remain stable long enough for them to regain solid footing.
In the month-past (mainly due to newly enforced C.O.O.L. (Country of Origin Labelling) laws in the U.S. that have affected southern cattle movement and caused trucking-shortages, local cattle sale prices have nose-dived.
Last week, a steer calf that sold for $171.25/per hundred-weight (a 500 pound calf equals $856.25) on Oct. 17 was worth only 160.00/per hundred-weight (500 pound calf equals $800).
Do the math.
If that producer had sold 100 – 500 pound steer calves on Oct. 17 his return (approximate) would have been $85,625.00; on Nov. 28 those same calves brought in $80,000.
A loss of $5,625, far more than most producers can afford to shrug off.
Santa will have to adjust his budget accordingly.
Liz Twan is a rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.