Beef cattle numbers are increasing slowly due to a shortage of cash and credit and the high cost of breeding stock. A feeder association was established in the South Peace. Feed analysis requires more promotion. The beef performance testing program should be expanded. A beef feeding demonstration was set up at the Mile Zero Farm in
Co-operation with the BC Vocational School.
DETAILS (see production and sales statistics below)
There is still an increasing interest in beef cattle operations except for those who were looking at livestock as an easy solution to their grain problems. With improvement in the price and market for grain their interest has disappeared. However, livestock based operations are still essential in such areas as Fellers Heights, Willow Valley, Arras, Triangle and Tupper.
Cattle numbers are increasing slowly, the growth restricted by lack of cash and credit and high prices for breeding stock. Brood cows probably number about 6,000 head in the South Peace.
While a large number of feeders are still exported to Alberta for finishing a few more stayed in the area this year even though calf and feeder prices were high. This was due largely to the establishment of a Feeder Association in the South Peace. This was sponsored by the South Peace Stockmen’s Association until a separate Association was formally organized and registered under the Society Act. Although it will all not be required this year, a credit of $200,000 was obtained for 1970-71 from the Bank of Montreal. If the first year is satisfactory, then the credit will be extended to $500,000 for the second year. Loan limits are $5,000 worth of cattle for the first year feeders, $10,000 for second and $15,000 for third year and subsequent years. The interest rate is competitive. So far 15 feeders have been approved for $5,000 with an indication of more applications for spring buying. Considering the high feeder prices, this is a good start.
Quite a number of bulls were purchased at the Grande Prairie Bull Sale by local cattlemen. Purebred breeders in this area did well in 1970. Shorthorn bulls from a local breeder brought a good price at Kamloops.
Cattle did well on the community pastures this year except for the losses from water hemlock at Sunset Prairie. Steers on the steer pasture (tame grass) at Groundbirch did particularly well coming out in September weighing between 850 and 950 lbs. Expansion of cool storage capacity is planned for 1971 at Lawrence Meat Packing Ltd.
Interest in forage analysis is increasing, but requires more promotion.
There is one herd on R.O.P. and one on Commercial Performance Testing. This program should be expanded.
A beef feeding demonstration was established in cooperation with the BC Vocational School. Four rations are being fed as follows:
1. Dry barley,
2. Hi-moisture barley (30%) stored in bunker silo,
3. Hi-moisture barley (20%) preserved with acetic-propionic acid, and
4. Low bushel weight barley (41 lbs.) plus hammered rapeseed.
Ten steers are on each ration. So far considerable difference is showing up in steers being fed the different rations. The steers were purchased through the Horn Cattle Fund from a North Peace rancher. The demonstration is creating a good deal of interest and a field day will be held in March.
A successful A.I. Seminar was held in March aimed primarily at the beef producer.
Pregnant beef cows were selling for about $350 last spring and about $275, in the late fall.
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