In the Sept. 24, 2009, issue of Central Alberta Life there was an article entitled Feed Shortage Averted. While I generally agree with the story I would question Ted Nibourg’s price for hay. He says “hay is selling for between four and 4.5 cents a pound.” He further stated the price is far less than the $100 plus price for a round bale of hay some were forecasting.
However by checking the hay ads on Alberta Agriculture’s Ropin the Web site we will not find any hay in Central Alberta for 4 or 4.5 cents a pound, but lots around $100 to $120 a bale.
It is very discouraging to go to Central Alberta auction marts every week and see quality young cows and calves coming through the ring. The pairs are split and all the cows go for slaughter . . . at prices we were getting in the 1980s!
It is hard to watch a grim-faced farmer with his wife crying beside him as they watch a lifetime of work go down the drain.
A moderate sized cow requires about 30 pounds of hay per day in the winter. If she needs to be fed for 200 days, that means 6,000 pounds of hay. $100 per bale hay works out to 8.33 cents per pound.
In other words, it will cost $500 per cow to feed for 200 days! Never mind bedding, salt, vitamins and mineral, or machinery costs to feed with.
Doug Sawyer said it very clearly: Keeping cows is not economically feasible in the situation we find ourselves in. The last six years have been tough in the cattle business and many cattle people are running out of money and hope. I think we will see a major liquidation in the Alberta cow herd this year.
Douglas J. Malsbury, Penhold