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Prices and optimism up at the saskatchEwan bison association's premium stock show and sale in north battleford

A combination of strong prices in the U.S., a partially opened U.S. border and steadily growing markets for bison meat in Canada, the U.S. and Europe are starting to have an impact on prices paid for bison breeding stock and overall producer optimism here in Saskatchewan. That’s the assessment of Kurt Wigness and Ivan Thomson, co-chairs of the Saskatchewan Bison Association’s (SBA) 2006 Premium Stock Show and Sale, held this past Saturday (March 11) at Kramer Auction Sales, North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

According to Kurt Wigness, “It was apparent at the sale that a more upbeat mood was emerging in the province’s bison industry following several years of low prices due to drought, BSE and the need to build markets for bison products.  A capacity crowd of producers packed the Kramer facility on the Friday evening prior to the sale to attend the trophy presentations for the show.  The people there were hopeful that the positive price signals we’ve been noticing would be reflected in the prices paid for animals at the sale the following day and they weren’t disappointed. We had over 160 of some of the best bison breeding stock prospects in western Canada at the sale and they sold well.”

The Grand Champion and Reserve Champion yearling bulls at the sale sold for $4,500 and $3,500. Overall the yearlings sold at an average of 64% higher than prices paid lately for commercial bulls. Equally promising prices were paid for bull calves with the top two placings selling for $1,700 and $1,650 and the high selling pen of three yearling heifers went for $1,025 each.

Show and Sale Co-Chair, Ivan Thomson commented, “Clearly, there is increasing optimism in the industry when producers are prepared to pay significant premiums over commercial prices for breeding stock. It sends a strong signal that our industry is here to stay and the producers that are in it for the long haul are prepared to do the sort of herd improvement required to take optimal advantage of improving market conditions.”