Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 30, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
10 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD October 30, 1973 Uncertain market keeps Swihart fresh meat on the hoof Ric Crankshaft Problems? it to the EXPERTS at Baalims! g Crankshaft regrindin Con Hod resizing Main Bearing Housings align honed Crankshaft Kits for popular models For Complete Details, Contact: BAALIM WHOLESALE LTD. 205 10th STREET SOUTH PHONE 327-8587 or the Garage or Service Station Nearest You! Uncertainty is the name of the game in the livestock industry these days and because of the tremendous amount ot money involved in the sector which readies cattle for slaughter, the feeder cattlemen are shy- ing away until market con- ditions settle down. That in a nutshell is the state of the Alberta cattle feeding industry in par- ticular and in Canada in general. The result will surely be higher consumer prices for beef. And the longer the un- rest in the feeding in- dustry, the higher the con- sumer price will be. The real trouble in the livestock feeding industry started with the United States price ceiling on live cattle for slaughter. The U.S. cattlemen who buy the 700-pound feeder steers to put into feedlots for fatten- ing for market decided to hold back their animals un- til the price ceiling was lilted, hoping for better prices. In some cases, animals were held back from slaughter 90 days and longer, causing a tremen- dous buildup in slaughter cattle. Another factor which contributed to the amount ol beef which was available for market was the larger carcasses, averaging 39 pounds heavier than a year ago. The result was an automatic drop of 10 cents a pound liveweight for slaughter cattle in the U.S. as soon as the price ceiling was lifted from the 48-cent- per-pound level. SURPLUS The packing industry in the U.S. had a surplus supply of cattle to draw from and this oversupply set the lower price the feeder was getting. At the same time, a rail strike in Canada held back thousands of western cattle from market because the packers in the west couldn't get the carcasses to the east. Then came the announce- ment that feed grain prices would be set at a minmum of per bushel for barley, the main cereal crop used in livestock feeds. This automatically push- ed the cost of feeding cattle to all time highs. Adding insult to injury, grain producers in the west seiz- ed the opportunity to hold out for even higher prices tor grain and feeders were having trouble finding any feed for the hundreds of cattle still being held in feedlots that should have been sent to slaughter. So production costs were definitely up for western feeders. And like following the lamb to slaughter, cat- tle prices in Canada followed, although not so drastically, the downward spiral of those in the U.S. TARIFF To "protect" the Cana- dian feeder industry. Canada reinstituted an im- port tariff on U.S. beef. But it did no good. The American slaughter cattle started coming into Enerson Motors Sales Appointments! Mr. John Vargo, General Sales Manager, announces the appointment of the following to Enerson's Pontiac-Buick-GMC-Sales Division: DALE BROOKS Dale has been a resident ol Leth- bridge for 21 years. He has a wife Sherry and one daughter. Dale is an active member of the Fish and Game Association, eniovs outdoor sports and re- crea.ion. He invites you to come in to Enersons and see the com- plete line of 74 Pontiacs. Buicks and GMC's. COLIN McLAY Colin is former Calgary resident- He and his wife Marion came to Lethbridge years ago. Colin has been in the Sales field for a years. He is a member of Toast- masters and enjoys golf, fishing, and auto racing. TERRY ROSAINE Terry was born and raised here in the city. He has been in public sales for the past 9 years. Terry invites all of his friends and former customers to look for him in their future motoring needs at Enerson's.... of course! HOWARD LONG Howard, formerly of Magrath has been residing in LethDndge for the past 4 years. He has been in me public sales field for 4 years. Howard has a wife Pam and one daughter. He enjoys basketball and hunting in his spare time. Howard would like to welcome his friends to see all that's new in the Pontiac-Buick. GMC line. ENERSON'S... Of Course! PONTIAC BUICK G.M.C. Phone 329-4444 Canada in droves, finally reaching one half of the weekly slaughter in Canada, removing an equal number of "local" cattle from the market. This was a final crunch. American cattle could be bought, shipped and handl- ed to Canadian packing plants cheaper than Cana- dian feeders could supply animals, in spite of the im- port tariff of cents per pound. Which comes right back to the problem of uncer- tainty. Feeders in Southern Alberta have a right to claim foul and it is the government of Canada that should be assessed the damage. EMBARGO Tha government in- stii.1 ed an errbargo on Canadian live cattle heading lor higher prices in the U.S. but when the prices in the U.S. dropped below those in Canada, no protective tariff was put on lor the local feeders. Then the feed grain situation made feeders wonder if they were going to be able to "buy the 700- pound animal, feed it ex- pensive grain and still sell it at a high enough price to make any money. They haven't been able to for two months. With no end in sight to the flood of U.S. slaughter cattle, many feeders decid- ed to stay out of the market struggle, resulting in drastically fewer number of cattle in feedlots in the West. Cattlemen's associations have asked for a higher tariff on U.S. cattle but it likely won't come. Local feeders feel the market situation in Canada will not be settled until the American public has eaten itself out of the glut situa- tion in the U.S. At that time the supply and demand situation will allow the market to straighten out. But the damage will have already been done. Sure, there will always be cattle on feed for the slaughter market but how many. There has already been a two-month lag in replacing cattle in local feedlots with no end in sight. BEHIND Local feeders claim they are now five months behind a normal marketing period. This means cattle numbers are lower and that means cattle prices will be higher. One feeder hit it on the head when he said the market will have to straighten out sooner or later. The longer it takes, the more it will affect the primary producer of cattle and grain. Without the feeding in- dustry, there is little need for calves. Without calves, there is little need for feed grain. "This thing has to straighten out but when it does, the prices will skyrocket. Beef will become a luxury item."