Higher than normal demand for hamburger due to consumer purchasing patterns because of COVID-19, cattle producers have been seeing higher prices for their cull and slaughter cattle.
“The cull cows up were up considerably, up over a $1, then the price came back down a bit the following week, said Tammy Eastman, spokesperson for Bow Slope Livestock Auction in Brooks. “For the cull cows, the guys are selling because of the higher demand for hamburger.”
Dustin Vossler, Cypress County councilor and chair of the Ag. Service board, raises cattle in the Seven Persons area. He is one of the producers who sold off some cull cows and slaughter bulls recently.
“Prices have been up for cull cows and up significantly for slaughter bulls. I sold some cull cows for $1.04 per pound and slaughter bulls were way up at $1.36,” said Vossler.
Bow Slope, typically holds yearling sales in the spring, held one recently that saw 2,800 yearlings on the auction block.
“We sell a lot of yearlings in the spring and the price has been staying pretty steady. There hasn't been much difference,” said Eastman.
Deemed an essential service, livestock auction marts such as Bow Slope must adhere to current regulations and protocols while continuing to carry on with business.
“We hold the auctions to buyers only, who have to sit apart from each other. Tthe sellers usually like to come and watch, but they can't and they've been understanding about it,” said Eastman, adding that several purebred sales have been held electronically through DLMS (Direct Livestock Marketing Systems) or TEAM (The Electronic Auction Market).
“It's been working. This is one place where you can't really work from home,” she said.
For producers like Vossler, self-isolation is not a problem as most are in the midst of calving season.
“Most of us are calving right now, so we're self-isolating anyway,” said Vossler who was just over halfway through calving a week ago. “We aren't having that social interaction right now.”