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What's a bull worth?

blackcowz

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After going through the fun process of selling my first bull, I got the full load of what it takes to get a bull ready for sale, especially if he crosses state lines. I learned a lot, but I sold my bull for a pretty low price because I wasn't sure if he was top notch. He's going to do great for his new owners, but I took care of my uneasiness of pricing bulls in the future by making sure I cut the ones that wouldn't make the cut for next year. (No pun intended.) However, in some reading material, I have learned that a bull is worth roughly the value of 5 cows. At our prices, a bull is worth around $3000, depending on bred or killer cows, which should get you a pretty nice bull. Even an average bull is worth something because a live calf that gets put on the truck is worth far more than one that never makes it into the world. So, when you go buy bulls, do you look for the one that costs the least and will get the job done, or do you figure he's worth more than just 5 cows and really pay attention to paying good money for a good bull? It seems people try to spend as little as possible on bulls, and yet will only look at ones that have a pretty good price tag. As a young seedstock breeder, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.
 

BC

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I always heard that a bull was worth what 3 of your best bred cows or 5 best steer calves would bring.
 

Red Bull Breeder

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A bull is only worth what people will pay for him. So if you are to high you won't sell your bulls. To cheap and you will go broke. I will not sell a bull that i would not use myself.
 

blackcowz

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Red Bull Breeder":1eb8wpkv said:
A bull is only worth what people will pay for him. So if you are to high you won't sell your bulls. To cheap and you will go broke. I will not sell a bull that i would not use myself.

Interesting BC. Red bull, I think you pose a very relative statement. Myself, I would use this bull, so I really have no qualms about selling him, but I wanted to make sure my customers got a good deal.
 

bigbull338

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Red Bull Breeder":335im3hg said:
A bull is only worth what people will pay for him. So if you are to high you won't sell your bulls. To cheap and you will go broke. I will not sell a bull that i would not use myself.
now thats a statement i fully agree with.when i was getting into beefmasters i called a top notch breeder i know.an asked him if he had any $2000 bulls.an he told me i dont sell $2000 bulls i cull them.he said a bull didnt bring $3000 or more it wouldnt be sold by him.so you can over price your bulls.but above all never be a highheaded cattlemen.because that dont fly with most cattlemen.an never blow a cattlemen off.always make an take time to answer their qs.
 

Aero

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there is never a reason to pay more than $2500 for a bull. if the breeder isn't making a killing at that, he isn't using the management i need to get bulls from. plenty of good bulls to be had for ~$1500.

if you are new to the business, you figure out what the bull is worth to you (if you were buying him) and if you sell him for less than that, just call it advertising. you have to get people to use your bulls before you get any reputation profit.
 

houstoncutter

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I am a commercial guy, but having bought a lota bulls over the years, I have come to a few conculsions.....As a seedstock producer you will want to have a few bulls of many types such as.....bulls for other seedstock producers......bulls that are for the commercial guy.....and finally bulls that are just gonna get some guys not so great cows, looking for a tax deduction bred......You will find producers like myself that are willing to pay for a top of the line bull if make sense...An example would be in the past I have sold calves that I retained ownership in,In that case I paid a lot of attention to carcass quality........Calves that I have sold the last few years, I sold to the sale barn....In that case I wanted calves that would push that scale down. Good luck
 

rocket2222

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When I'm buying, I pick a amount I'm willing to spend, then try to get the best bull I can for that amount of money. The bull I have now was my 5th attempt at buying one, I got out bided on the first four choices. If I'm selling, I normally tell the buyers twice the amount that I really want for the bull, then the usual reply is "your crazy, that bull only worth half that" so I sell him to them at half price, and everybody's happy :lol:




Just kidding of coarse, It depends who you're selling to, round here the commercial breeders think they're getting ripped off if you want more than $800/1000 for a decent bull, if I sell a bull to another purebred breeder, he wouldn't even look at the bull if I told him I want $1000 for him, he would think it was junk.
 

Hereford76

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blackcowz":m51zbrpm said:
I learned a lot
thats the most important part

blackcowz":m51zbrpm said:
making sure I cut the ones that wouldn't make the cut for next year
just keep concentrating on that

blackcowz":m51zbrpm said:
It seems people try to spend as little as possible on bulls, and yet will only look at ones that have a pretty good price tag
spend a few more years doing what you are doing and you'll understand that

Aero":m51zbrpm said:
there is never a reason to pay more than $2500 for a bull. if the breeder isn't making a killing at that, he isn't using the management i need to get bulls from
hear ye - although its a lot of fun to buy them and/or sell them for more
 

Cattleman200

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Report this postReply with quoteRe: What's a bull worth?
by houstoncutter on Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:33 pm

I am a commercial guy, but having bought a lota bulls over the years, I have come to a few conculsions.....As a seedstock producer you will want to have a few bulls of many types such as.....bulls for other seedstock producers......bulls that are for the commercial guy.....and finally bulls that are just gonna get some guys not so great cows, looking for a tax deduction bred......You will find producers like myself that are willing to pay for a top of the line bull if make sense...An example would be in the past I have sold calves that I retained ownership in,In that case I paid a lot of attention to carcass quality........Calves that I have sold the last few years, I sold to the sale barn....In that case I wanted calves that would push that scale down. Good luck
Houston, I agree 100 % with your post.


Circle H Ranch
 

cypressfarms

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Red Bull Breeder":3rzthp2v said:
A bull is only worth what people will pay for him.



This topic could be discussed for a very long time, but at the end of the day, the sentence above always holds true.
 

Jovid

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Red Bull Breeder":1o6jjy18 said:
A bull is only worth what people will pay for him. So if you are to high you won't sell your bulls. To cheap and you will go broke. I will not sell a bull that i would not use myself.

Well said :clap: :clap:
 

Frankie

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blackcowz":17bpca8p said:
After going through the fun process of selling my first bull, I got the full load of what it takes to get a bull ready for sale, especially if he crosses state lines. I learned a lot, but I sold my bull for a pretty low price because I wasn't sure if he was top notch. He's going to do great for his new owners, but I took care of my uneasiness of pricing bulls in the future by making sure I cut the ones that wouldn't make the cut for next year. (No pun intended.) However, in some reading material, I have learned that a bull is worth roughly the value of 5 cows. At our prices, a bull is worth around $3000, depending on bred or killer cows, which should get you a pretty nice bull. Even an average bull is worth something because a live calf that gets put on the truck is worth far more than one that never makes it into the world. So, when you go buy bulls, do you look for the one that costs the least and will get the job done, or do you figure he's worth more than just 5 cows and really pay attention to paying good money for a good bull? It seems people try to spend as little as possible on bulls, and yet will only look at ones that have a pretty good price tag. As a young seedstock breeder, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.

Well, you got the first one out of the way and you learned a lot. I'd suggest that you need to set standards about what you want to have your name attached to. Find a formula that you can explain to a potential customer for the price you're asking. For example, we performance test our bulls. We use prices paid for similar bulls at the test station sale to price the bulls we sell at home. It's something that most potential buyers seem to understand.

Here's a pretty good article on what a bull's worth:

February 27, 2006
COMMON COMPONENTS EXIST FOR CALCULATING A BULL’S PRICE

by: Wes Ishmael
Cattletoday.com

There’s good reason that bulls are ultimately worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for them, no more and no less. Fact is, calculating the true value of a particular bull is akin to bottling a blizzard, given the vagaries of predicting precisely the added performance a bull will pass along to his progeny, let alone assessing the value of that added performance at least 18 months down the road.

Randy Perry, a beef cattle specialist at the University of California Fresno, sums up the common bull appraisal approach as well as anyone can: “Most buyers have an idea of the type of quality they want to buy and will pay what it takes to get that quality.”

That means prices cow calf producers are receiving for calves, the availability of feed and a host of other production and marketing factors have as much to do with the price of bulls as bulls’ intrinsic value.

Sure, there are at least as many rules of thumb for calculating bull value as there are bull buyers. Some say a bull is worth four or five weaned steer calves or three yearlings. Others say a bull’s price should be equivalent to some number of bred heifers. Still others begin the process by calculating how many calves it will takes to buy a new pickup …the rules of thumb and variations on them are endless.

Over time, there have also been a fair number of attempts at making price calculations for bulls more sophisticated. For instance, a good decade ago, extension specialists at the University of Florida suggested that one way to begin assessing the economic differences between bulls and therefore price was to subtract the herd average weaning weight from that of the prospective sire, divide by two and divide by the heritability of weaning weight. The result is an estimate of the difference in weaning weight the bull should make to the calves he sires in a herd, relative to existing herd performance. Multiply that difference by the going rate of feeder calves and you have the potential economic value, again based solely on the impact of weaning weight.

For perspective, say your herd average weaning weight is 500 lb. Using the above formula, you’d calculate a bull with a 600 lb. weaning weight (in a breed with a heritability for weaning weight of 0.30) to serve up an increased average weaning weight in your herd of 15 lb. per calf sired. At 25 calves, that’s 375 lb. per year. If you use him four seasons, that’s 1,500 lb. Multiply that by the price of a 550 lb. calf and you’re talking at least $1,500 or so based on today’s market. That’s the added value of the bull in question, compared to one holding the herd average weaning weight steady.

Others have developed spreadsheets that account for the total cost of a bull, relative to predicted added returns, coming up with an estimated net cost per pregnancy as a benchmark to use for comparing potential bull purchases.

Any of these methods can have value. Ultimately, though, market fundamentals and the distance between bulls purchased today and their first calves marketed two years down the road means that cash in hand, hope in heart is still the most popular, and arguably, the most rational approach.

However producers tackle the challenge, Jason Cleere, an extension beef cattle specialist with Texas A&M University (TAMU) says, “I encourage producers to think about bulls more as an investment rather than as an expense. Think about what you can invest economically, relative to what that investment can return.”

In fact, Cleere developed an online spreadsheet that enables producers to quickly estimate the net cost of a bull including purchase price, interest and salvage value along with the predicted value of additional weaning weight the bull might deliver (http://etbeeftamu.edu {go to Beef Cattle Information, then to Genetics and look for “Bull Power”}).

After all, whether calves are sold at weaning time or are retained through a stocker phase and then the feedlot, pounds still drive returns as much or more than the actual selling price.

That’s why buyers reward and discount feeder calves on weight potential as much as anything. For instance, in 2001 University of Arkansas extension specialists evaluated auction receipts in the state to determine value factors and impact. In that study, compared to Muscle Score (MS) 1 calves, buyers discounted MS 2 $4.72/cm.; MS 3 $13.40/ cwt.; and MS 4 $22.65/cwt. Similarly, using USDA Frame Score grades, relative to USDA Large, buyers discounted Medium $0.96/cm. and Small $19.53/cwt.

http://purduephil.wordpress.com/2006/02 ... lls-price/
 

Frankie

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houstoncutter":mnhaofxu said:
I am a commercial guy, but having bought a lota bulls over the years, I have come to a few conculsions.....As a seedstock producer you will want to have a few bulls of many types such as.....bulls for other seedstock producers......bulls that are for the commercial guy.....and finally bulls that are just gonna get some guys not so great cows, looking for a tax deduction bred......You will find producers like myself that are willing to pay for a top of the line bull if make sense...An example would be in the past I have sold calves that I retained ownership in,In that case I paid a lot of attention to carcass quality........Calves that I have sold the last few years, I sold to the sale barn....In that case I wanted calves that would push that scale down. Good luck

Well said. I've talked to lots of bull buyers over the years. Very few of them can actually tell me what they're looking for in a bull. They just know it when they see it. Different buyers like different things in bulls. No one size fits all.

But, as a breeder, you need to be sure that you're not selling a bull that would hurt your reputation. I think we could sell everything we raise, but if a bull doesn't meet certain standards, we pull the ear tags out, return his papers to AAA, and haul him to the sale barn as a generic black bull. Even if we sold him cheap to someone only wanting a cow freshner and everyone was happy with the sale, the guy driving down the road and seeing that bull and his calves every day only knows that the bull came from our program. He doesn't know the price or the understanding between sellers and buyers, he just knows where that bull came from and that bull will represent, in his mind, our breeding program. That's not a good thing.
 

Weaver

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I totally agree that a bull is only worth what people will pay for him. Been to a few sales that the right two people wanted the same bull and ran the price up more than twice what i would have paid for him. Was that bull worth it to me? No, but he was worth it to the person who bought him. Most people have a goal of what they need their bull to do. I am not able to check the cows everyday during calving season, we feed out all our calves, and buy all our replacements, so I need a calving ease bull with good carcass and growth but not necessarily good maternal traits. Most of our bulls are in the $3000 range. But the bulls we need may be completely wrong for the guy down the road. Sometimes I wonder if they are worth the price. So the other day i did some figuring. Out of the last 92 head of fat cattle we have sold, we have had 91 choice or better and one select. I think buying high quality bulls has paid for themselves in our case. In the end, always be improving and have an idea of what you need in your bull to get there.
 

WichitaLineMan

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That's funny H76. A year ago you sent me a price sheet and all were priced at $3000 - $5000. Changing your tune, now?
 

Running Arrow Bill

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My perspective as a seedstock producer:

  • 1. Buy the best bull you can afford for your program...
    2. Buy the best breeding females you can afford (and, keep top 10% heifers to retain).
    3. Your bull is at least 50% of your program.
    4. The objective with any program is for the bulls and cows to "out produce themselves" (i.e., produce offspring that are presently or potentially better than their parents).
    5. Your mating strategies and breeding successes should produce at least 95% live healthy calves on the ground. Anything less than that one needs to diagnose and cull what is not consistently producing.
    6. One dead or stillborn calf (in effect) costs the feeding and medical care of the dam for one year, plus the percentage of females bred and the "prorated percentage" of the bull's upkeep for that period for the one dead calf.
    7. If a cow fails to produce a healthy live calf every year, then she is "tagged" for Sale Barn slaughter, or for one's own freezer hamburger.
    8. A bull should produce two to three times his cost and upkeep in offspring sold before he is sold or turned into hamburger.
    9. Any bull that develops an attitude problem should be turned into hamburger: temperament is 40% heritable (same goes for females).
 

Cattleman200

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Report this postReply with quoteRe: What's a bull worth?
by Aero on Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:23 pm

there is never a reason to pay more than $2500 for a bull.

Thats Great Information ! I have a long list of bulls that I would love to buy for $2500. Who is to say which bull will be the next top semen seller or sire some of the best calves in a given breed? Certainly not someone who is hung up on a maximum of $2500 for a bull. The bottom line is it all depends on what kind of program you have , where you are in your program and what you want the end result to be in your program. I have paid as much as $9000 for a bull and never regretted it. As a matter of fact the bull gained my farm and me a lot of recognition and has made quite a bit of money on top of that. However this kind of decision will always vary from one individual to another.

Circle H Ranch
 

Aero

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Cattleman200":1tw35em9 said:
Report this postReply with quoteRe: What's a bull worth?
by Aero on Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:23 pm

there is never a reason to pay more than $2500 for a bull.

Thats Great Information ! I have a long list of bulls that I would love to buy for $2500. Who is to say which bull will be the next top semen seller or sire some of the best calves in a given breed? Certainly not someone who is hung up on a maximum of $2500 for a bull. The bottom line is it all depends on what kind of program you have , where you are in your program and what you want the end result to be in your program. I have paid as much as $9000 for a bull and never regretted it. As a matter of fact the bull gained my farm and me a lot of recognition and has made quite a bit of money on top of that. However this kind of decision will always vary from one individual to another.

Circle H Ranch

i am not trying to make a name for myself from someone else's animals.

if you pay more for the bulls on that list, you are either taking a big risk or playing in a market that isn't rooted in the real world. 95+% of commercial cattlemen have no business paying more than $2500 for a bull. the seedstock funny-money world has little to do with commercial profitability. if you think any commercial cattleman can routinely pay $9000 for a bull and it end up being worth it, you are pretty far out of touch with real world economics.
 

Cattleman200

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Report this postReply with quoteRe: What's a bull worth?
by Aero on Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:41 pm

Cattleman200 wrote:
Report this postReply with quoteRe: What's a bull worth?
by Aero on Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:23 pm

there is never a reason to pay more than $2500 for a bull.


Thats Great Information ! I have a long list of bulls that I would love to buy for $2500. Who is to say which bull will be the next top semen seller or sire some of the best calves in a given breed? Certainly not someone who is hung up on a maximum of $2500 for a bull. The bottom line is it all depends on what kind of program you have , where you are in your program and what you want the end result to be in your program. I have paid as much as $9000 for a bull and never regretted it. As a matter of fact the bull gained my farm and me a lot of recognition and has made quite a bit of money on top of that. However this kind of decision will always vary from one individual to another.

Circle H Ranch

i am not trying to make a name for myself from someone else's animals.

if you pay more for the bulls on that list, you are either taking a big risk or playing in a market that isn't rooted in the real world. 95+% of commercial cattlemen have no business paying more than $2500 for a bull. the seedstock funny-money world has little to do with commercial profitability. if you think any commercial cattleman can routinely pay $9000 for a bull and it end up being worth it, you are pretty far out of touch with real world economics.
I must have missed something that you thought you read. I never saw where this was strictly a commercial cattlemans post. It all depends on what you are doing in your program. I quoted you as saying "there is never a reason to pay more than $2500 for a bull". Im saying that there are sometimes reasons to pay more if you feel the need arises. Blackcowz said he was a young seedstock producer. Many Seedstock producers sell to other seedstock producers as well as commercial cattlemen. Also FYI None of my Seedstock dealings are made in funny money.

Circle H Ranch
 

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