Prices for some cattle at auction are remaining consistent, while others have been on a downward trend, according to one area rancher. Image: VJV

Ponoka rancher sees challenges within beef industry

The beef industry is less volatile now than it was several years ago.

While there remain highs and lows, the beef industry is less volatile now than it was several years ago.

That’s according to Kolton Kasur, a purebred Angus rancher located between Ponoka and Bashaw, who also happens to be a district delegate with the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP).

“Obviously, it is not as crazy as it was back around 2006 and 07. Things have been settled a lot lately,” Kasur explained.

“The big change right now is that lighter calves are off more than the heavier weights.”

An example he used was from a recent auction day in Ponoka, where a 900 pound animal went for about the same price as last year — between $1.45 and $1.58 per 100 weight. However, one that was 600 pounds sold for $1.60 to $1.70, down around 40 or 50 cents from 2017.

“With the drought last summer, which forced many to start feeding earlier, combined with the long winter, the challenge is, do you feed your cattle just to make that extra $150 per animal?” he asked.

“There’s a lot of feed moving right now and that’s the reality at the moment.”

Kasur is also in a unique position, dealing with all sorts of producers and helping fight for them through the ABP, but also knowing his purebred industry is a different type of market.

“As an organization, we are working hard to gain that new market access rather than relying on our old, traditional ones. There are opportunities to diversify and the more markets we can sell into the better off we are,” he noted.

“And obviously every operation is different, but the biggest I found being on ABP was how many sectors there are and it was eyeopening to find how large our feedlot industry is. As a purebred operation, my market is much different than those commercial feedlots.”

What that has meant for Kasur is figuring out how to blend his own concerns with those of the various beef sectors so he can represent everyone and not just one portion of the industry.

“The beef industry is just so much broader than just being a rancher, and sometimes you see that NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude if you are not thinking about the industry as a whole,” he explained.

For his own operation, Kasur believes the future really lies in the American market as it seems like it appears to be expanding significantly.

“It seems the big money could be in the U.S. as it looks like a huge market to supply protein. As for prices, I’d like to see it come back to what was a few years ago, but I’m not going to rely on it,” he said.

“You can’t plan too far ahead, so I simply go from year to year and it seems to work for now.”

Kasur did note one major change that was expected to occur this year for beef producers, but there is still a hurdle to jump through.

The non-refundable checkoff on beef nationally has been raised to $2.50 per head, up from $1, but the provincial checkoff of $2 was due to become fully non-refundable. However, the ABP and the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association (ACFA) are still working on a deal to get that done.

So far, that hasn’t happened, and Kasur noted the proposal — which would see $1.30 go to the ABP, 40 cents to a new beef industry development fund and 25 cents to the ACFA — must still go to a plebiscite in order for the membership of the two organizations to approve the deal.

Just Posted

Ponoka’s on the CP Holiday Train stop coming in December

The train starts up Nov. 27 featuring performers Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott

Ponoka County fire crews handle second baler fire in 12 hours

Fire crews handled a baler fire just west of Gull Lake

Red Deer RCMP ask for assistance to ID suspect in indecent acts

The suspect exposed himself to a woman and made sexual comments to her

WCPS uses cannabis legislation to fully review drug, alcohol and tobacco policies

Cannabis is not permitted in schools; WCPS focused on providing education and support

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read