Sale Barn Cattle: Risky?

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Anonymous

Rarely a week that goes by on the messageboards that someone hasn't had a bad experience with buying sale barn cattle. It is painful to hear about these things.

Question is: "Why do people keep buying foundation, starter, new herd, and related cattle at the sale barn?" There are always reasons why people take their cattle to sale barns--and, they are not always good reasons. For often not much more $$ one can purchase a quality, sound, problem-free cow, heifer, bull from a reputable private farm/ranch for these cattle. The exception to "sale barn problems" is perhaps the quality breeder who is reducing his/her herd of good cattle at a large auction. A new or novice cattle person (or) one who wants one or a few for "lawnmowers" or other uses would well advised to purchase from quality producers who take pride in and guarantee their stock. With the very short time one is able to inspect and "judge" the quality of a sale barn animal, even knowledgable cattle people can get stung with bad genetics or a latent problem or disease or illness on occasion.

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Anonymous

"Why do people keep buying foundation, starter, new herd, and related cattle at the sale barn?"

I don't know of anyone buying foundation or registered cattle at the sale barn. The exception to that, of course, is if someone is dispersing and has a special sale at the local sale facility or some purebred operators use sale barns for their production sales.

The reason most people buy commercial cattle at the sale barn is because that's where most commercial cattle are sold. A cow that works under my managemnt system might not work under yours. I might sell every heifer born on my place, but you might want to start a herd with heifers. All that takes place at the sale barn. Some people make a living buying old, skinny,mismanaged, etc., cows. They take them home, calve them out, fatten them up, cure pinkeye, whatever, then sell them back through the sale barn at a profit. Do I want to buy tose cows? No. But lots of people are willing to. And it's not easy to find a group of "good" cattle from a "reputable" breeder to start your own operation. The best place, in my estimation, is to buy from some sort of consignment sale. Here in Oklahoma the state cattlemens association sponsors a "Fall Cattle Drive" in November. There will be several hundred bred and open heifers with info on them available. Most people know what they're doing when they buy at the sale barn. But it's the easiest, most convenient, cheapest, method for most people.
 
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Anonymous

It's called the brand on there sides.... Most people that buy from the sale barn know who they are buying the cattle from because they usually live fairly close so you get to know them and their practices. When you get into trouble is when you buy animals from somebody a distance away which usually doesn't happen at the local Barn. Jake



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Anonymous

Some good comments on this message thread. Trust anyone who has had a bad experience with sale barn cattle will profit from these comments. At Running Arrow Farm, we neither buy nor sell at sale barns...buy and sell via private treaty only.

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Anonymous

> Some good comments on this message
> thread. Trust anyone who has had a
> bad experience with sale barn
> cattle will profit from these
> comments. At Running Arrow Farm,
> we neither buy nor sell at sale
> barns...buy and sell via private
> treaty only.

I have to fall in line with Bill. My experience has indicated to me both from selling and buying at the sale barn that it is the sale of last resort. I may not be the most experienced buyer, and I'll readily admit that, but I have learned the importance of seeing a facility where the cattle are raised and/or at least getting some history on the animals. I also have found that prices at the sale barn are way too unpredictable. Maybe it's just me. I have had much better experiences buying and selling private treaty.



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Anonymous

Thanks for your positive response! Granted, beauty is only skin deep, etc. I feel that a facility that raises livestock that puts out the effort to have a well-kept place (i.e., trash/debris picked up, areas and pastures "policed" frequently to pick up bits of wire, junk, glass, etc.), has fences in good repair, takes care of their equipment and structures, and provides a good place for their livestock to live is a top operator that takes great pride in their operation. I have visited too many facilities in the past that created a bad impression and the livestock looked like they were hoping for a better home!

Sure, it costs time, money to provide a facility with positive "roadside appeal". Guess the subliminal message here is that if your place looks good, then you must take good care of your animals.

On another note, there might be a "message" that if the facility can't afford to keep their place up; then...well...maybe they cut corners on feeding, de-worming, vaccinations, and other livestock things...???

In a final note...as a buyer..."It costs little more to go first class!" Pay now or pay later....

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Anonymous

I buy at sale barns all the time. Weak, poor cattle can make me more money than the good loking cattle my neighbor has for sale. I can buy 50 fairly good 450lb. calves from my neighbor at his place, for his price (.85-.95) or 50 light/poor holstien steers for (.55-.65) from the sale barn. If I keep them through rye grass season, the good calves will gross less per head than the poor ones. All from the sale barn. I can't find a better market for the small producer than the sale barn. I enjoy spotting an extra good deal and turning a buck in the process of handling cattle. You get to know cattle, as well as the market.

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Anonymous

> At Running Arrow Farm,
> we neither buy nor sell at sale
> barns...buy and sell via private
> treaty only.

So how do you get rid of your culls, lame, aged, infertile?
 
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Anonymous

> Some good comments on this message
> thread. Trust anyone who has had a
> bad experience with sale barn
> cattle will profit from these
> comments. At Running Arrow Farm,
> we neither buy nor sell at sale
> barns...buy and sell via private
> treaty only. Good for you. No really, if that is how you cna make money great. I buy at sales barns and private treaty. Had good luck at both. I feel one should know what hey are doing befor they purchase anything. Cow or car. Your right. The majority of animals at a sale barn are there for a reason. Buyer beware applies at all barns. If you want to start out and don't know much ask some people will help some won't. Remember "BUYER BEWARE".



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