October and November are always a busy stretch of time for the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association. It begins with fall meetings. This year we saw excellent turn out. Part of this can likely be attributed to the awful working weather during the last week of October and first week of November. Thankfully things improved through much of November.
The mood at fall meetings was what I would characterize as resigned. Granted prices are back from last year but most people seem to mention that those prices were not to be expected forever. The other oft heard comment was “did the drop have to be so fast, so soon?”
The volatility in the markets was a big driver of getting a market expert to speak at most of our meetings. Brian Perillat, Anne Wasko and Joe Jackson each brought their own viewpoints of the markets, what has come to pass and what might be coming. My favourite slide of Brian’s is below. It shows the effect on calf prices from changes in several market factors.
Another favourite part of the presentations for me was an explanation of why steers and heifers bring different amounts in the marketplace. Differences in gain efficiency and expected finish weights explain a lot of the gap between what you get for feeder steers vs. what you get for feeder heifers. Also explained was why heavier calves that can get to finished weight by May get such a premium. There is a real hole in our finished cattle production at that time of year, every year. Anyone who can provide cattle feeders with stock they can get fed up to finish at the peak of the market will likely be rewarded.
There was not a long list of motions from the fall meetings. The ones that passed will come to the floor at our annual meeting which takes place on January 25 in Regina as part of the Saskatchewan Beef Industry Conference.
Attendance was up at 10 of our 11 district meetings. We will have to move several to bigger venues as we are starting to outgrow some of the old favourites. That is a positive sign. Where we are stagnating or not seeing good turnout we will also change things up for next year. If anyone has ideas for what they would like to see during the fall meetings please do reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number at the office is 1-877-908-2333. We are interested in hearing about ways we can bring value to producers. The fall meetings are important for elections and policy discussions. We can use the gathering for a couple of other ideas too. This year it was the markets. What should it be next year?