Salebarn calf selling

Help Support CattleToday:

A

Anonymous

There are 3 or 4 weekday sale barns within pretty easy driving distance from my place, each having a sale on a different day of the week. I hear a lot of purely anecdotal evidence that the price for calves varies quite a bit depending on which sale barn you use. And a couple of "old-timers" have told me that they always sell at one barn but buy at a different barn, due to real or imagined price differences.

I've wanted to run a little experiment for a long time, but have never been able to actually do it, and wonder if any of you have ever tried doing something like the following:

Round up say 9 steers (or heifers) that you feel are of essentially equal quality, same color, approx. the same weight, etc. and take 3 each to various salebarns, on succeeding days so that you are sure of selling very comparable animals and all within a 2 or 3 day time period. I wonder if doing this several times would reveal whether there is in fact a meaningful difference in prices paid to the seller depending on which barn is used. I realize that they all publish after the fact price ranges for various classes of calves sold, but I think such data is much too broad and imprecise to use for purposes of making this "test".

Has anybody tried doing something similar to what I outlined above?

Any order buyers out there that care to give their thoughts?
 
OP
A

Anonymous

AZ, you bring up a very interesting question. I’m probably like everybody else here, having tried this on a non-scientific basis – non-scientific for the same reasons as you. Not enough time to make a real study out of it. To do it “right” you would have to be selling decent sized bunches in several sales all in the same week.

I guess we all have our favorite sale barns, mostly for our own empirical reasons. Personally, I believe the owner of the auction, assuming he is the one starting the bids, has more to do with it than anything. The buyers are pretty much the same in my area, regardless of the auction.

One thing I have noticed is that it pays to avoid a sale where there will be lots of dairy steers, assuming you are selling calves. Maybe it’s just in my head, but it seems to pull the overall range for beef calves down. Also, if a sale is in the middle of an area where drought is severe it pulls the numbers down. I don’t think it’s a plot the buyers hatched back in some smoke filled room, it’s just the mentality that the ranchers are desperate and out of grass. In that case it pays to hold off or haul to an area that’s not hurting so badly.

On the other hand, it sometimes seems like it pays to sell after a big rain. Everybody is less panicky to sell so there can be less supply, and a lot of folks can’t get their trailers loaded and pulled out due to the mud. But, the buyers still have orders to fill and it seems like that can help a few cents.

As usual, all the above is worth exactly what you paid for it. I look forward to reading the discussion on this subject. Good subject!

Craig
 
OP
A

Anonymous

> AZ, you bring up a very
> interesting question. I’m probably
> like everybody else here, having
> tried this on a non-scientific
> basis – non-scientific for the
> same reasons as you. Not enough
> time to make a real study out of
> it. To do it “right” you would
> have to be selling decent sized
> bunches in several sales all in
> the same week.

> I guess we all have our favorite
> sale barns, mostly for our own
> empirical reasons. Personally, I
> believe the owner of the auction,
> assuming he is the one starting
> the bids, has more to do with it
> than anything. The buyers are
> pretty much the same in my area,
> regardless of the auction.

> One thing I have noticed is that
> it pays to avoid a sale where
> there will be lots of dairy
> steers, assuming you are selling
> calves. Maybe it’s just in my
> head, but it seems to pull the
> overall range for beef calves
> down. Also, if a sale is in the
> middle of an area where drought is
> severe it pulls the numbers down.
> I don’t think it’s a plot the
> buyers hatched back in some smoke
> filled room, it’s just the
> mentality that the ranchers are
> desperate and out of grass. In
> that case it pays to hold off or
> haul to an area that’s not hurting
> so badly.

> On the other hand, it sometimes
> seems like it pays to sell after a
> big rain. Everybody is less
> panicky to sell so there can be
> less supply, and a lot of folks
> can’t get their trailers loaded
> and pulled out due to the mud.
> But, the buyers still have orders
> to fill and it seems like that can
> help a few cents.

> As usual, all the above is worth
> exactly what you paid for it. I
> look forward to reading the
> discussion on this subject. Good
> subject!

> Craig

Something else to be aware of - Last year I bought 12 calves from a man. We went down together and weighed them. My plan was to sell them and make a small, very small profit. The man didn't get them rounded up on the proper day for me to use my regular sale barn so I took them to another sale barn that I had never used, but some friends of mine use. It's about sixty miles away. Long story short - somewhere during that 60 mile, nonstop trip my calves lost almost 200 pounds!! I guess it occasionally pays to verify your weights and what the scales of your salebarns read.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

It's caLLED "SHRINK", calves can loose 10-15% rahter quickly depending on their fill, water weight, how long they've been held without feed water, stress. etc. All salebarns that I'm aware of have certified scales so they should read close to each other. Our association has shipped several pot loads of calves to KS and TX. We sell thim without pencil shrink, just weight as they go on the truck. We've been avereraging less then 1.5% shrink by feeding them only half a ration in the morning they are loaded and not loading them up on salt and water before hand.

dun

> Something else to be aware of -
> Last year I bought 12 calves from
> a man. We went down together and
> weighed them. My plan was to sell
> them and make a small, very small
> profit. The man didn't get them
> rounded up on the proper day for
> me to use my regular sale barn so
> I took them to another sale barn
> that I had never used, but some
> friends of mine use. It's about
> sixty miles away. Long story short
> - somewhere during that 60 mile,
> nonstop trip my calves lost almost
> 200 pounds!! I guess it
> occasionally pays to verify your
> weights and what the scales of
> your salebarns read.
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Here in Texas we have a newspaper called country world. They print the averages for the different sale barns in different parts of the state. I do not find much differents between the barns.

[email protected]
 
Top