Renfrew sells loads of livestock due to drought
RENFREW ó Renfrew County livestock producers who donít have crop insurance are selling off livestock at auction barns faster than a fox can raid a henhouse.
Renfrew County has been hardest hit by the ongoing drought in most of Eastern Ontario. Many farmers are selling livestock ó cattle, pigs and sheep ó because they are running out of locally grown feed crops, thereís very little second-cut hay to harvest, and the upcoming grain corn harvest promises to be poor.
Meantime, the price for hay has tripled in some cases and the price for livestock has dropped. Livestock prices at the Renfrew-Pontiac Livestock sale barn have dropped at least 15 per cent because of the increasing numbers of animals now being sold.
Beef farmer Michael Donohue sold 70 stockers one month ahead of schedule. He had expected a profit of $70,000 this year but says that even with crop insurance heíll be out $40,000.
"Iím going to lose money this year," he said. "I wonít be out of business but itís going to hurt. For guys with crop insurance, many will struggle but will survive."
Farmers who gambled by not buying crop insurance could face going out of business. Said one farmer, who asked not to be identified: "The sky is not falling. But itís ridiculous to not buy crop insurance. Itís cheap risk managment."
There are about 480 beef farmers and 100 dairy farmers in Renfrew County.