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J+ Cattle

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I know the question has been brought up before I'm curious about how you market your cattle. I'm not talking about loading them on a trailer and taking them to the sale barn, I'm talking about marketing, advertising or promoting them for sale. For some this could be just having numerous contacts in the industry and using forward contracting or grid marketing through retained ownership.
I know some here have websites they use to promote and sell freezer beef; some may use Facebook, Craigslist, Special Replacement Cattle or Bull Sales. I'm interested to know what has worked for you and what hasn't. Most things come at a cost, and some aren't worth the money.
 

wbvs58

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J+, I know you asked how I market my bulls in that other thread, sorry, I never got round to answering it.
I used to have a small bull sale in partnership with another small Angus breeder until Andrew split with his missus and had to sell up. Andrew was a bit of a whizz with facebook and was starting to move more in that direction just before he dispersed. We did a good catalogue each year, Andrew li9ked lots of glossy photos, we probably spent too much on the catalogue. The sale was moderatley successfull and I doubt that we would have continued, seemed there was a market for about 20 bulls/ year and we would have about 30. The good thing about the sale was I developed a client base and a good reputation and I now have a mailing list. Last year which was an exceptional year for selling bulls here I did not do any organised marketing, my phone just kept ringing. I did have good photos of the bulls to send to people that enquired.

My plan now is to only sell yearling bulls, I calve mid winter, wean at start of autumn. I plan to develop around 10 each year. I put them on a self feeder that gives very good control and aim for 1.5% body wt/day and they are on stockpiled grass so not much work to do. I weigh them every 2 weeks to make sure they are heading the right direction plus they get used to being handled which is a big selling point for my bulls they are all very quiet but not pets. I only have to feed through one winter now. I plan to sell them early in spring.

My marketing plan now is to do a small cheap catalogue myself with photo, pedigree. EBV's and mail out to my list, some cheap classified adds in newspaper and maybe one small display add. I will try and resurrect facebook and do some Gumtree and ebay. I will show clients the bulls by appointment but no bulls will be sold or promised to anyone before a particular date in September and a particular hour where I will accept offers over a reserve on the bulls (a bit like a helmsman auction), this way everyone will have the same opportunity to buy the pick of them. By Xmas any that have not sold will go to the butchers, I will not go below my reserve which for this year will be $5000 as I think the bull market will be good again but when things return to normality I will probably drop to $4000 as I think this is still doable. If there is a good market for bulls I will keep doing it but if it is hard work more will be getting castrated.

Ken
 

Dave

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I used Superior. Lower commission and exposed the critters to a wider market. Since I moved here B has a lot of cattle and a huge amount of contacts. About half of his go to the sale. The other half get contracted direct to the feedlot, retains ownership, sells direct to individuals, Superior, and a lot of other avenues. I just ride along on his coattails.
 

Stocker Steve

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Using in general but especially with the September futures being .20 higher than now.
I noticed we have a Black Swan event in the beef market every 12 to 18 months, but I have not been consistent on buying LRP.

Have a neighbor that uses it for his home grown calves. He will go in once a week for several weeks to buy coverage for them at an averaged cost.
 

kenny thomas

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I noticed we have a Black Swan event in the beef market every 12 to 18 months, but I have not been consistent on buying LRP.

Have a neighbor that uses it for his home grown calves. He will go in once a week for several weeks to buy coverage for them at an averaged cost.
I'm just getting serious about it and learning more. Buying % of selling price at a discount interests me also. Virginia Cattlemen Association had a meeting on it this week and I was traveling of course. They are going to be offering it.
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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What about you @J+ Cattle ? What do you do? Are you commercial cow calf?
Yes, I'm a commercial cow/calf operation but I retain my heifers for replacements and have sold some first calf heifer pairs. I've used Craigslist and the website Drovers Cattle Exchange.


The Drovers Cattle Exchange website would never update my ad to say when the animals were sold, and I also got a lot of spam calls and texts coming from that ad. In the future I wouldn't use it again, I would probably try Ranch World Ads or Cattle Range next time to see if I have a better experience.



Currently the steers, cull heifers and cull cows are sold at the sale barn. My future plan is to sell the steers and cull heifers as freezer beef and sell the better heifers as bred heifers or pairs. Covid and the lack of processing dates has delayed my plans because I don't want to tell customers to wait a year or more to get their beef. I don't think that's a good way to start off a business.
 

Hereford2

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I use craigslist, and word of mouth. I have repeat customers and new customers every year. I also sell a few at the sale barn every year.
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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What about marketing options for those that are direct selling freezer beef, how are you advertising or finding your customers?
 

GoWyo

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We have a beef page on our website, but most of the beef sales are prior customers and our business facebook. Bull sales we use an annual flyer my wife publishes (she is pretty handy with the Adobe InDesign suite) and quite a few get sold through facebook, but usually to people who already know us.
 

Little Joe

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What about marketing options for those that are direct selling freezer beef, how are you advertising or finding your customers?
I promote mine through word of mouth and facebook. I started a Farm facebook page just for selling beef and I will also share it on my personal page. I also try to keep a list of people interested in buying that I just happen to encounter out and about and I'll reach out to them when I start taking deposits. I usually work it into casual conversations that we finish and sell beef, it usually produces someone who's interested in buying a quarter. Direct selling is a different beast, you have to be a salesman, a farmer, customer relations, a cattle hauler,afeed hauler, a meat hauler and be able to communicate well between your customer and butcher what each can realistically expect, and you have to enjoy all those aspects to do good at it. I enjoy the salesman part and farming part the most.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I don't fit the mold, being a purebred operation. Main reason we started showing is for advertising. Getting our cattle out in front of people. Always helps when you win!

Early on, we found a local small feedlot that purchased all our steers. First 2 years he came out and looked at them, we agreed on price. After that, we just called and said we had X number of steers. Then one spring we had mostly steers, so we called after calving to let him know how many we had. All good. Then came fall when the calves were weaned, we called to set a delivery date. Wife said he had cancer and was not buying anything.
I spread the word, and my new feedlot guy got ahold of me and took all we had "sight unseen" and have purchased that way every year with price based on the best feeder calf sale in our state - highest price paid is what he pays me.

Males are just my cash flow. All males are gone by October. Bulls are all sold as calves. People pick them out while they are still nursing. Normally never sold more than 3-5 bulls/year.
Winter of 19/20 I had 5 people put in ORDERS for a bull - before they were born. Ended up selling 7 bull calves ($1850). This winter, I already have orders for 4 bull calves. Never heard of such a thing - but I'm loving it.
My females are my money makers. I have a web site. I am highly involved with our Simmental state association. If someone says Simmental - my name usually comes up. Be involved with all the beef programs in your area or state - Beef Industry Council - Beef Producers Assn. - 4-H programs. My nephew is amazing at posting random field shots/videos of our cattle on Facebook. Get a LOT of interest from that. I advertise a little - my Simmental publications and the NYS Beef Producers.

Myself & 2 other farms put together a quality Simmental sale that is held in PA. Only invited farms can consign animals.

I realize this probably is not what you were looking for, but I thought I would share what works for a PB breeder (at least THIS PB breeder).
 
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J+ Cattle

J+ Cattle

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We have a beef page on our website, but most of the beef sales are prior customers and our business facebook. Bull sales we use an annual flyer my wife publishes (she is pretty handy with the Adobe InDesign suite) and quite a few get sold through facebook, but usually to people who already know us.
@GoWyo do you maintain and update the website yourself (you and your wife) or do you have a service that makes the changes for you? I have a son that said he would create a website for me, I don't know anything about it myself. I'm wondering if it's over my head or something that is easily learned.
 

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