Canada's Largest Feedlot Closes

September 29, 2016 08:20 PM

Last week, Alberta-based Western Feedlots announced it would close early next year. It was stunning news from a company nearly 60-years-old, and it has cattlemen worried on both sides of the border. 

Western CEO Dave Plett said dismal market conditions and a poor political environment were factors contributing to the closure of the three feedlots that have capacity for 100,000 cattle.

The economic impact to the economy in Alberta could be significant, and the two major packers in the area, Cargill and JBS Canada, should be concerned about the loss of a source of four to five thousand cattle per week for their plants.

Cow-calf producers will also miss one more potential buyer for their calves.

Alberta has already lost five family-run feedyards over the past two or three years due to what some are calling a high-cost environment.

Rick Paskal, president of Van Raay Paskal Farms, an Alberta cattle feeding company, predicts more cattle feeders will close the gate in the next six months. He warns that the struggling cattle feeding business in Alberta will send more cattle to the United States for feeding.

Alberta cattle feeders say they are at a $5 to $6 disadvantage when compared to feeding cattle in the U.S., and that a new municipal tax of $3 per head tax on feedyards in Lethbridge County, makes that disadvantage $8 to $9. That tax, they say, makes it even more likely that Canadian cattle will go south for feeding.

Back to news



Spell Check

Lincoln, NE
3/10/2017 11:57 AM

  As a promoter of beef from a farming family, I remember once where we decided to feed our yearlings out in our feedlot. When time to market those fat animals with at their prime, we lost more money than if those fats were sold at the time they were yearlings. We now by calves background them through the winter on cornstalks and sell later to those individuals willing to take the risks.


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer