Maritime cows headed to Russia, Kazakhstan for premium price
Both countries want up to 100 Herefords a year from the Maritimes, a demand local breeders struggle to match.
Larry and Pat Ward have a Hereford farm in Middle Musquodoboit. They said years ago they got a call that Russians and Kazachs who were willing to pay $1,200 for each Maritime calf. It was a premium at a very bad time for beef farmers.
“I think I jumped for joy,” said Larry Ward. “Any heifer calf that meets a certain criteria, they’ll take.”
The demand for Maritime Hereford cows is so high, local breeders say they can’t keep up.(CBC)
The Hereford cows is a hardy animal that does well in tough climates, which is a big selling point for both Russia and Kazakhstan.
When a call comes in from Canadian-based exporters working with either country, things move fast. A week later calves are trucked out.
The calves are shipped to Ontario where they are quarantined. Then they’re flown or shipped overseas.
It’s part of a growing trade between Canada and both countries. In 2012, Kazakhstan was Canada’s top market for purebred cattle, but it remains a small market worth under $8 million.
This year local breeders aren’t certain the Russian calls will come, given the political tension over Ukraine.
Larry Ward said that may not be such a bad thing.
“You have to be careful not so to sell all your cattle to Russia. You’ve got to keep some back or you’ll be short of cattle,” he said.