Pricing your Bulls

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Feb 1, 2007
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This is a question to the seedstock Bull producers. How do you come up with the prices you put on your Bulls each year when selling off the farm?

I have heard some say they use a formula based on US cut out prices, I think that was the index used. Anyway, just interested to hear what most Bull producers do.
With our bull calves, we hold the best ones for a few months (up to year old) and steer the rest about weaning time when we can better evaluate their horn potential and temperament. Occasionally we'll sell a breeding age one to an area rancher for cross-breeding for what the current market will bear: $800 to 1200. since "locals" want to buy "disposable bulls"

We've sold 2 and 3 year olds for up to $3500, essentially out of state. Please note that these prices are for "good, average, nice looking bulls" and not "top horn potential" and top genetics ones.

We also retain one bull each year for our own freezer beef. Other bull disposals include 2 in 1 packages or 3 in one packages.
Pricing bulls is hard. We mostly use our bull test station sale as a basis. When the bulls finish test, they're given a grade (test index). We attend most of the station bull sales, so when our bulls come home from test, we know what similar performing, age, etc., bulls sold for. We use that as a basis and make adjustments according to his looks, calf prices, drought, demand, etc.
Bulls sold to commercial breeders' price are linked to the slaughtervalue of the animal. I sell them for slaughtervalue +50%, the profit margin when I sell this way is very close (maybe slightly better) to what other breeders get in the better production sales. The difference being my bulls are sold private treaty off the farm so I don't have any sale cost or commission to give to the auctioneer.

The "special" bulls that go to purebred breeders or very demanding buyers' asking price are usually negotiated till both parties are satisfied.

I have found that linking the asking price to weight and slaughterprice helps buyers to get a better feel for how much (little) they are actually paying compared to buying junk over the fence or from the salebarn.

The best advice I can give to any new breeder about to start selling bulls is don't overprice them, rather just sell them and get them out there working for the new owner and ultimately also for your reputation. There is no advertisement as good as a satisfied client who spreads the word.

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