High prices might lead to an increase in cattle thefts says an Alberta farmer who had 59 heifers taken from his property.

Allen Hobbs, who farms near Provost, Alta., discovered the animals were missing during a recent head count.

The heifers are branded but Hobbs thinks they may have been  moved to Manitoba which has no brand inspection program.

“I just think with these high cattle prices now that this is going to be more and more of a...thing that happens,” he said.

“And it's so hard to police and so hard to control, even when they steal out of the yard like this. It's an ongoing problem.

RCMP suspect the thief was familiar with Hobbs’ operation and took all of the cattle at once using a large trailer.

Hobbs said that none of his neighbours noticed any unusual activity in the area.

Police have valued the animals at $80,000.