The impact of two wildfires that burned across southwestern Saskatchewan this week could end up hitting the province’s beef industry hard according to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA).
“A loss like this is truly devastating to the people losing their animals. That’s their livelihood so rebuilding from that is going to be a challenge,” said SSGA General Manager Chad MacPherson.
While the provincial government confirmed a number of animals, including livestock, have died as a result of the fires, the Ministry of Agriculture could not provide exact numbers on Thursday.
The executive director of the livestock branch said reports have indicated approximately 400 animals killed in the blaze.
Based on that information, paired with what he’s heard from impacted producers in the region, MacPherson estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars could be lost.
“The value of the animals depends on the age and the type of animal it is. The value can range quite widely, the minimum probably a thousand dollars to several thousand dollars,” he explained.
MacPherson pointed out it’s not just the animals, but also the loss of grazing and fencing that will have an impact on producers as well.
He believed it would still take up to another week yet for ranchers to fully assess losses, and to figure out whether animals died or if they just went missing.
“That is a long-standing ranching community in the province with a fairly high density of cattle production.”
Losses won’t be significant enough to affect prices at the retail level according to MacPherson.