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Goodbye and good riddance — 2022 was not kind to cattle feeders

The fed cattle sector couldn’t catch a break in 2022 and it wasn’t any one thing that created the problem.

“This has been going on for sure since February/March,” said Jacob Bueckert, who operates Driland Feeders near Warner and is chair of the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association. “I don’t know if we ever fully caught up from the slowdowns we had during COVID-19.

“We got close to catching up, and then we ended up getting more cattle in feed yards. There’s been problem after problem facing the feeding industry. It’s a tough go for sure.”

Market analyst Anne Wasko of Gateway Livestock Services has the same take, saying the initial problem was packing plant shutdowns and slowdowns during the height of the pandemic.

“One thing leads to another – you can’t hang it on any one thing,” she said. “We came into 2022 not completely cleaned up from the COVID backlog. We were reasonably cleaned up, but there were record numbers on feed in Western Canada to start 2022.”

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