How do you market your cattle?

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OBAX

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I’m curious about marketing plans for your cattle. I’ve always been happy with, and thought my pre conditioning plan was a home run for me. I was consistently getting $18-$25/cwt premium for my calves by consigning them to the sale and conditioning them at a cost of approx $12-$13/cwt. Now that feed costs are rising and conditioning time is extended, the math no longer works out for me. I’ve never been one to complain about a lot of work for little return, but I feel like there needs to be some return.
All that said, I’d like to hear how some of you maximize your cattle through different avenues besides just your regular sale barn.
 

Ky hills

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We sell mostly at the stockyards. Sometimes will sell some heifers out private treaty. Last fall sold some weaned heifers via Craigslist.
 

ccr

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We sell mostly at the stockyards. Sometimes will sell some heifers out private treaty. Last fall sold some weaned heifers via Craigslist.
Did you think selling them heifers via Craigslist was better than the stockyards?
 

Dave

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Superior, direct to feedlots, saleyard, very rare but occasionally by word of mouth to some person wanting just a few head, and on the rail to people for personal consumption.
 

Ky hills

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Did you think selling them heifers via Craigslist was better than the stockyards?
Yes, as they were Herefords I did not get docked in them. I have bought and sold through CL,. Lots of times things are over priced on it, Sometimes, there is quite a bit of interest in what I have posted and sometimes very little.
 

TCRanch

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Same buyer purchases my calves through the sale barn. I send a detailed spreadsheet to both the buyer & barn prior to the sale. Sale barn markets the calves as early consignments to generate additional interest; fully vaccinated, weaned a minimum of 45 days, heifers guaranteed open. If I sell private treaty, it's through word of mouth - they approach me.
 

Dsth

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Did you think selling them heifers via Craigslist was better than the stockyards?
the advantage would be the buyer knows where they came from and increases the possibility that he/she will be a return costumer if he/she likes the first crop that he/she bought.
 

Dsth

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Same buyer purchases my calves through the sale barn. I send a detailed spreadsheet to both the buyer & barn prior to the sale. Sale barn markets the calves as early consignments to generate additional interest; fully vaccinated, weaned a minimum of 45 days, heifers guaranteed open. If I sell private treaty, it's through word of mouth - they approach me.
I would like to know who buys my calves when I take them to the salebarn, but none of the barns around here will pass that info on to the buyer nor will they give the buyer the consigners info unless it is a herd dispersal or special sale for a consigner.
 

Ky hills

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the advantage would be the buyer knows where they came from and increases the possibility that he/she will be a return costumer if he/she likes the first crop that he/she bought.
That is true, however there are a lot of traders that sell livestock on CL, potential buyers have to be very selective and careful. It’s also a pain to advertise on because of all the scamming.
 

BC

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I would like to know who buys my calves when I take them to the salebarn, but none of the barns around here will pass that info on to the buyer nor will they give the buyer the consigners info unless it is a herd dispersal or special sale for a consigner.
Look at your check, the attachment will list the calves, what they weigh, price and buyer. The buyer is more than likely an order buyer who is putting together groups of same sex,quality and weight cattle. I know in my neck of the woods, we have some big order buying companies that will put together cattle from 6 to 10 sales per day.
 

Dave

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The only cattle I have ever sold on CL were a couple of bottle calves. There are 4 or 5 times more cows in this county than people. There just isn't a market for a few head at a time. The vast majority of cattle here are sold by the pot load. Often multiple pot loads sold at once.
 

Dsth

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Look at your check, the attachment will list the calves, what they weigh, price and buyer. The buyer is more than likely an order buyer who is putting together groups of same sex,quality and weight cattle. I know in my neck of the woods, we have some big order buying companies that will put together cattle from 6 to 10 sales per day.
every check that I have received has a buyer number as the buyer. we need to have a number in order to bid or the auctioneer will give you a number if you do not have one. all other info you mention is on the check. I have called the barn once a while back to see who bought my calves and they said it was personal info they do not release. I was welcome to attend the sale and talk to the buyer though.
 

Rydero

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I’m curious about marketing plans for your cattle. I’ve always been happy with, and thought my pre conditioning plan was a home run for me. I was consistently getting $18-$25/cwt premium for my calves by consigning them to the sale and conditioning them at a cost of approx $12-$13/cwt. Now that feed costs are rising and conditioning time is extended, the math no longer works out for me. I’ve never been one to complain about a lot of work for little return, but I feel like there needs to be some return.
All that said, I’d like to hear how some of you maximize your cattle through different avenues besides just your regular sale barn.
Do everything I can to manage pasture, water, feed, bulls and anything else I think affects calf growth in a way that maximizes gain pre weaning and feeding in the fall. Have moterate sized, easy keeping cows. Control costs that aren't associated with production. Wean mostly 600 weights at the stockyards before spending time and money on things the buyers usually won't compensate me for. Helps having at least one friend in the front row at the Mart.
 

TCRanch

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every check that I have received has a buyer number as the buyer. we need to have a number in order to bid or the auctioneer will give you a number if you do not have one. all other info you mention is on the check. I have called the barn once a while back to see who bought my calves and they said it was personal info they do not release. I was welcome to attend the sale and talk to the buyer though.
It's generally identified as a condensed version of the buyer's name on the checks from our sale barn.

I'm in a unique position because I know who's purchasing my calves. But I'm also at the sale, sitting right up front (with a copy of my anal retentive, detailed spreadsheet) and answer any questions. It also helps that I know the auctioneer but it's a relatively small town. That said, they get cattle all the time from OK, NE and ND.
 
OP
O

OBAX

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I’ve checked all the boxes. I’ve sold pre conditioned calves, and did well. I’ve sold cattle, bulls, heifers, on Craigslist. I’ve gone straight from momma to sale barn. I’ve sold a lot of heifers by word of mouth to my neighbors. All this is great and part of the cattle business. My problem is, I am the type of guy that needs a plan. Even before the calves are born I want to have a marketing plan and in today’s environment I can’t have a plan!
Maybe I’m venting more than anything else. I just need to hear that others are having the same struggles that I am. Or not?
 

Ky hills

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Yes, I think about anybody in the cattle business is going to have struggles. It's hard to know what to do, and seems like even if you do everything to the letter that you are recommended it still seldom works out like you planned. There are just too many variables in the equation.
 

Silver

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The only cattle I have ever sold on CL were a couple of bottle calves. There are 4 or 5 times more cows in this county than people. There just isn't a market for a few head at a time. The vast majority of cattle here are sold by the pot load. Often multiple pot loads sold at once.
You guys still hauling cattle in tandem trailers down there or have some tridems started showing up yet?
 

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