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November 25, 2014
The fall sale season is in full swing. For buyers, that means studying catalogs, watching sale videos, traveling to the auction, and trying to get the best buy for open heifers and bred females. In the past, we’ve offered plenty of advice for purchasing seedstock -- don’t buy sight unseen, look beyond the photo, study the EPDs, and think carefully about what type of cattle fit your breeding program best.
READ: Study Up Before Bidding
While buyers are in control at a sale, what about the seller? Our family wrapped up our first female sale about a month ago, and it has me thinking about the time and labor it takes to put together a seedstock sale.
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I recently visited with Bob McClaren, founder and CEO of 44 Farms of Cameron, TX, which just completed its fall female cattle sale. McClaren offered his thoughts on how to prepare for a cattle sale, as well as advice for buyers when purchasing cattle at a sale.
3 tips for sellers:
1. Take your time.
“One of the keys to a successful cattle sale is time,” says McClaren. “Time is critical in putting together a genetics program that customers can identify with. It takes years to test the genetics of any program, then market proven genetics, and develop a clear understanding of the needs of customers. Finally, it takes time to develop trust in the marketplace. As with anything in life, those things that have great value take time to create, develop, nurture and share.”
2. Happy customers are your best marketing tool.
“The good word from our customers is our best marketing,” says McClaren. “Happy customers mean they have purchased cattle that have been proven to be functional cattle, and they have produced profits for them. That is why we are in the genetics business – to help producers improve their programs so they can be more successful.”
3. Have an abundance of information in your catalog.
“They key to a good sale book is an offering of good cattle,” says McClaren. “We try to provide all the information a producer could possible need or want on every single animal.”
3 tips for buyers:
1. Have a backup plan when buying.
“It is always good to remember that if a customer has a certain animal that he or she wants to buy, it is very likely that animal will also be targeted by other buyers,” says McClaren. “So, it is always good to have a Plan B, Plan C or even Plan D. That is why we believe it is important to sell cattle in volume. So, customers have ample numbers of good cattle and they can find exactly what they really want and are excited to acquire.”
2. Study the sale book closely.
“Study the sale book and videos,” says McClaren. “We encourage folks to call us ahead of time, so we can answer questions and fill them in on the latest information, like ultrasound data that is often collected within 30 days of the sale.”
3. See the cattle in person before buying.
“There is no substitute to viewing the cattle prior to the sale,” says McClaren. “We welcome people to come visit. It is always a helpful and fun experience.”
Have you attended any fall sales this year? If so, what have been prices on open and bred females? What have you been shopping for? Are you looking to expand by purchasing more females this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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