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

Tickets still available for Clearwater Of the Year Awards

Event celebrates local citizens, employees, businesses and services for contributions to community

Road conditions for March 25

Fog is causing poor visibility on Highway 5

Rockin’ Robin

Another sign spring has sprung

Blue River Health Centre closed March 25-26

Clinic will return to regular operations on March 27

Spring Break Skijor Day

More horsing around at Smokin True Ranch

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read