Getting hay to ranchers along Highway 20 is becoming tougher with road restrictions in place said Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association president Cordy Ellis-Cox. Angie Mindus photo

Road restrictions impact hay deliveries to ranchers hit by 2017 wildfires

Ranchers facing hay shortages are dealing with road restrictions slowing down the delivery of hay

Road restrictions are hampering hay deliveries to ranchers along Highway 20 in the Cariboo Chilcotin, said Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association president Cordy Cox-Ellis Thursday.

“I would really like to see an exception for ranchers hauling hay in for their cattle,” Cox-Ellis told the Tribune. “There were not enough trucks in B.C. to keep guys supplied with hay after the wildfires and as a result, they are still hauling hay to our ranchers.”

Most of the hay is coming from the Peace Region — from Fort St. John and Alberta, Cox-Ellis said.

Prices for hay continue to be high, going for more than $200 a tonne, and Cox-Ellis said with truckers only being able to haul a 70-per cent load on Highway 20, ranchers are paying “through the nose,” for the hay.

“I feel it’s really an SPCA matter,” she said. “These cattle need to eat.”

The region is made up of large operators with upwards of 500 to 1,000 head of cattle each, she noted, adding ranchers along Highway 20 were some of the hardest by the 2017 wildfires.

“So much hay was needed for so many cattle. If you can only haul 70 per cent and there are only so many guys hauling hay, they cannot keep up with the need of the cows.”

Hay haulers have managed to keep up, but now it’s getting tough, Cox-Ellis said.

Read More: Ranchers await AgriRecovery funds

Road restrictions go into effect around this time every year to deal with spring breakup and are updated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as snow disappears and roads become very muddy and soft.

The ministry responded Friday saying it imposes seasonal load restrictions throughout select areas of the province each spring for heavy vehicles and commercial transport trucks, to protect B.C.’s transportation infrastructure and maintain it over the long-term.

In the Cariboo District, the ministry is currently permitting 100 per cent legal loads to be transported along Highway 20 from Williams Lake west to the community of Hanceville, as the infrastructure to this point is strong enough to support it.

After Hanceville, Highway 20 cannot withstand 100 per cent loads, so they must be reduced to 70 per cent to prevent damage to the highway.

The ministry has proposed the creation of a staging area at the 100 per cent and 70 per cent transition point at Hanceville to allow drivers to adjust their load accordingly, and is working with the local ranching industry and BC Cattleman’s Association accordingly.

Information regarding B.C.’s seasonal load restrictions for the province are available online.

Clicking on a region will provide details about the load restrictions on specific highways and roads.

Ministry contacts and their phone numbers are listed at the bottom of each region’s page if drivers need more information.

This story was updated Friday, April 13, in the afternoon with a response from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Read More: Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Adaptation, not blame, required in COVID-19 crisis

Analysis must be about finding out what happened and prevent it happening again, says letter writer

Downtown Nanaimo hotel shows love and appreciation for front-line workers

Coast Bastion illuminates windows in the shape of hearts, hopes other buildings do the same

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation finding new ways to feed students during COVID-19 pandemic

Hampers being delivered to those in need in Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district

Beefs & Bouquets, April 8

To submit a beef or bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Count in Nanaimo indicates 25 per cent increase in homelessness

Nanaimo Homeless Coalition’s count suggests at least 425 people experiencing homelessness

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read