OCA tries its hand at online cattle auctions

Ontario has been slow to embrace online bidding, but now pilot projects undertaken by the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association may accelerate the trend


Live cattle auctions broadcast on the Internet and offering online bidding might be commonplace in the United States and Western Canada, but they’re still a novelty in Ontario. That may be changing.

Recently, the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) launched two pilots with the goal of encouraging calf club sales to use the technology. This spring, at least three other sales barns plan to add online bidding to their purebred sales.

Video technology comes to the cattle barn

Using his iPhone and computers to keep tabs on his herd from afar gives this busy Glencoe farmer peace of mind. But video surveillance isn’t the answer to everything


Whenever he wants, Matthew Zwambag can view his purebred Limousin herd on his iPhone via strategically placed still and video cameras in his barns and feedlots.

Zwambag’s iPhone gets images and videos from eight cameras, six of them digital still cameras that shoot colour in daylight and black-and-white infrared at night. Two more are pan, tilt and zoom video cameras with the same capabilities, allowing him to look around the barn.

Optimism returns to the cattle industry

According to the World Bank Development Prospects Group, beef prices have risen 30 per cent in the last year. But the Canadian herd is not expected to expand rapidly and prices for other commodities have increased even more.


In nearly 50 years watching the cattle business, Charlie Gracey has never seen the convergence of a high dollar, high beef and high corn prices  . . . until now.

Gracey, a consultant and board member for the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, credits the U.S. market for the high price of Canadian beef along with a reduction in the Canadian herd of about 20 per cent since 2005.

Temporary exemption proposed for farmers in threatened Bobolink areas

A three-year exemption from restrictions under the Endangered Species Act is in the works for normal farming practices in areas where the Bobolink is struggling to survive


Farmers taking their first cut of hay this year shouldn’t have to worry much that they will be charged under the provincial Endangered Species Act for destroying Bobolink habitat.

Farm and conservancy groups have proposed that farmers performing normal farm practices be granted a three-year exemption under the Endangered Species Act with respect to Bobolink habitat. Normal farm practices include early cutting of hay, which coincides with the nesting season for the grassland bird.

What’s behind the decline in Ontario’s cow herd?

Supply and demand, says one industry insider. Cow-calf operators are cashing in on 
good prices and exiting the industry


Stocker cattle and calf prices have taken a jump upwards that hasn’t been seen in a long time. Cattle feeders are raising their bids at the auction ring at an odd time, when grain prices are also high.

Calves weighing 500 pounds were selling 10 to 20 cents a pound higher than a year ago at the sale in Keady, says Jim Clark, general manager of the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association. Prices in Ontario are the highest in Canada right now, he says, and cow calf operators deserve it.