Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 11, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saving factor for many farmers Cattle market strong The year 1970 was very profitable for Alberta cattle and sheepmen, but proved less fruitful for swine and poultry producers. Perhaps the biggest single influencing factor on Canadian agriculture in the past year was the federal governments "operation lift." Many western fanners in order to rid themselves of surplus grains seemed determined to enter the livestock feeding business. Because of cash limitations, more people turned to hog feeding than beef, with a result that a few months later the market was flooded with over-fat pork. Hog prices have been depressed since around July. Cattlemen were more fortunate, and experienced a generally strong and steady market all year. Increased feed prices during the last few months of 1970 put pressure on profit margins, but beef continued to move through auction rings at relatively high prices'. Sheep producers also enjoyed a strong and steady market last year. Canada's sheep population showed an increase for the first time in 10 years, as numbers increased from the 1969 total of 218,000 to 247,000. Poultry and egg producers had a bad year all round, as the first months of the year slowly built up to a climax in September, and what has become known as the "great chicken and egg war." All of Canada's provinces outside the Maritimes threw up laws which made it unfeasible for another province to import poultry or eggs. With Quebec and Ontario dumping surplus quantities of poultry and eggs into Canada's other provinces, they have since been blamed as the main instigators of the import embargoes. Production of both poultry and eggs has since taken a drop in all provinces, as each produces just enough to meet its own needs. Market prices have been slightly depressed since summer. MARKET FORECASTS The beef market looks very favorable, with Bud Olson, federal minister of agriculture, calling for great increases in herd numbers. Mr. Olson estimates Canada has the potential to increase carrying capacity of its ranges by 100 per cent through more efficient management and range reseedmg programs. He feels Canada could push beef numbers up to 20 million head, or about three times the country's present beef population. The year 1971 looks very promising for southern Alberta cattlemen, as two new meat packing plants are under construction, one in Lethbridge and the other in Brooks. Fear has been expressed that there will not be enough beef to meet the demands created by these additional packing houses. On the national front, a new beef grading system is being contemplated which would place emphasis on giving the producer more beef and less fat for his dollar. The new system has gained support from the Canadian Cattlemen's' Association, who feel it would result in lower meat costs. The system would base grading solely on fat thickness as a ratio to muscle. It is believed it would help eliminate waste fat which now influences the price of beef. The proposal has also gained the support of cattlemen specializing in the new breeds, Charolais, Simmental and Limousine, noted for their exceptionally lean carcasses. Under the present grading system which' scores for age, conformation and eveness of fat covering, these beef animals are being discriminated against for their lack of carcass marbling. Long range pork forecasts made by Canada department of agriculture economists predict that people who entered the pork business on a "snatch and grab," basis, will not realise much profit, while the veteran hogman will because of long term planning, be able to withstand the depressed market. Publicity programs staged by hog associations and the provincial government in 1970 aimed at making the public aware of the many uses of pork gained support during the year. It is expected there will be more programs such as this in other commodity fields. Canada has barely scratched the surface of its potential mutton, lamb and wool market, and could easily absorb seven million more sheep in the country. It is expected imports from Australia and New Zeland will keep up pace with recent Slaughter figures Totals ond percentages of Lethbridge, Alberta end Canadian cattle slaughter figures for the years 1967 through 1970i 1967 Canada .. Alberta .. Lethbridge 1968 Canada .. Alberta ... Lethbridge 2,642,000 . 846,000 . 197,000 2,784,000 . 900,000 . 218,000 1969 Canada . . 1,719,000 Alberta---- 860,000 Lethbridge . 215,000 The Lethbridge figure represent* 7.4 per cent of the total Canadian kill and 23.3 per cent of the Alberta kill. Lethbridge kill 7.8 per cent of total Canadian and 24.3 of Alberta. Lethbridge kill 8 per cent of total Canada and 26.2 per cent of Alberta. 1970 Canada Alberta Lethbridge . 241,000 Alberta. 2,701,000 Lethbridge kill 8.9 per cent of 895,000 total Canada and 26.7 per cent of years, but a concerted effort on the part of government and sheepmen may see substantial increases in sheep numbers in years to come. Poultry and egg production continues to slump, as each province supplies only enough produce for its own use. Government officials are trying to resolve the controversial market issue between the provinces, but have been hesitant in forcing provinces to abandon import restrictions. With the introduction and passage of national marketing bill C176, the situation is expected to be relieved. Beets down By STEVE BAREHAM Herald Farm Writer Southern Alberta sugar beet production in 1970 dropped to 523,502 tons from 576,611 tons in 1969, due mainly1 to a reduction of harvested acreage from 38,867 to 36,733 acres. The acreage reduction was necessitated by surplus stocks of beet sugar left from bumper crops in 1968 and 1969. Yield per acre in 1970 averaged 14.25 tons, which was about one ton per acre less than either 1968 or 1969. The 10-year average is 14.02 tons. Sugar content of the beets was down in 1970 to 15.4 per cent, due apparently to early and severe frosts experienced in September. This compares to 16.8 in 1969 and to the 10-year average of 16.33 per cent. As a result of the decreased sugar content, sugar production from the 1970 crop averaged out at 236.7 pounds per ton of beets compared with 260.4 pounds in 1969 and the 10-year average of 256 pounds. There were about 830 sugar beet growers in southern Alberta during the past year. They are paid on a percentage of the money gained from the sale of the sugar, molasses and beet pulp. The growers received $8,876,-333 from the sugar company for beets from the 1968 crop, or $14.88 per ton of beets bought. Since the sugar from the 1969 and 1970 crops is not yet sold, final payments on these crop years are not avail- Thursday, Mereh 11, 1971 - THI LfTHMIDOI HBtAlD - 3 Canadian Sugar Factory payments to date on the crops is $15.50 per ton for 1969 and an initial payment of $10.50 for 1970. Total production from the 1970 beet crop processed at Ca-andian Sugar Factories in Ta-ber and Picture Butte was 123,913,900 pounds of sugar, 36,-299 tons of beet pulp and 21,519 tons of molasses._ Dwigfat Purdy, CSF manager In Lethbridge, said world sugar prices remained relatively stable in 1970 and at an improved level over recent years. This is due in part, to the international sugar agreement which was drawn up in January of 1969. The agreement was designed to stabilize and co-ordinate sugar production between the world's sugar trading nations, and was the first major step taken jointly by these nations since an earlier but ineffective agreement made in 1958. The future of the sugar beet industry remains bright according to grower and processing officials, but price variations are expected to continue on the world market for the next few years. Proud to be associated with Lethbridge and Southern Alberta . . .