For Bradley and Virginia Walker, livestock farmers in Endeavour, Sask., this year’s weather was a disaster.
“The rain was so patchy,” said Bradley. “Some places got good rain, we got nothing.”
The lack of rain meant they couldn’t grow enough hay to feed the 350 head of cattle on their organic beef farm.
“Normally we grow enough,” he said, noting that wasn’t the case this year—there isn’t enough hay to get the herd through the winter months.
That scenario is being repeated across the province. And now, with hay prices having increased from $70 CDN/$56 U.S. a bale before the drought to as much as $300 CDN/$246 U.S. today, farmers like the Walkers are in trouble.
“At that price, we can’t make a go of it,” he said, adding lots of farmers are selling off their cattle because they can’t afford to feed them.
“I don’t want to do that,” he said, noting it’s taken 35 years to build up their herd.