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

Just Posted

Here’s what Fort St. James councillors refused to hear

Citizens express frustration and anger

Citizens ejected from Municipal Hall – Locked out

Mayor refuses to allow discussion on controversial Bylaw regarding marijuana

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Turbulent times for outgoing B.C. Lieutenant Governor

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Kinder Morgan bungled pipeline public relations: poll

The survey suggests 58 per cent of Canadians believe the company is to blame for poor perceptions

Plane makes a surprise landing on the Coquihalla

Social media was alive Sunday night with pictures from Coquihalla commuters.

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Trump says North Korea agreed to denuclearize. It hasn’t.

Trump is claiming that North Korea has agreed to “denuclearization” before his potential meeting with Kim, but that’s not the case.

Most Read