First Montana Hereford Feeder Calf Sale a Success

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ¬¬¬ Nearly 1,200 head of Hereford and Hereford-influenced feeder calves sold Nov. 16 at the first Montana Hereford Association (MHA) sponsored feeder calf sale at Three Forks, Mont. The calves sold at the MHA sale brought as much as $6 per hundredweight (cwt.) per head more than the USDA average in Montana that week for that weight group.

The Hereford and Hereford-influenced steer calves exceeded the USDA compiled Montana average market report in six of seven weight breaks. Heifer calves matched or exceeded the USDA compiled Montana average market report in four of six weight breaks.

“The premise for our sale was to demonstrate that Hereford calves of good quality and in volume lots would sell equal to or even better than their black counterparts,” says Jerry Gereghty, MHA board member and sale organizer. “I think the underlying theme of our sale has been met and even exceeded.”

Buyers turned out at the Headwaters Livestock Auction barn to buy the calves, of which about 65% were age- and source-verified. All of the calves followed standard vaccination protocol and had been weaned for at least 45 days. The age- and source-verified calves earned the most premiums, of up to $25 per head.

“There was a dramatic price differential paid between those calves verified and those that were not,” Gereghty says. “Of course, those that followed our vaccination and weaning program (VAC 45) were compensated for their efforts as well.”

Verified Beef LLC, Pfizer Animal Health, Beery Land and Livestock, and Wichman Herefords hosted a dinner the night before the sale, with about 50 people in attendance. Andy Kellom, Verified Beef LLC, presented information on age and source verification, and Nick Campbell of Pfizer Animal Health spoke about feeder calf health programs.

A grant funded through the Montana Department of Agriculture’s Growth Through Agriculture program helped offset some of the costs to promote and staff the sale.

The MHA plans to make the sale an annual event, and organizers are considering hosting a second sale in Miles City.