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Cattle at auction

What do order buyers really look for in cattle they buy?

For years, cow-calf and stocker operators have asked, “what do buyers value the most when trying to fill orders for a client?” Now we have a look into the mind of buyers and it might surprise you.

By Eldon Cole

There’s a range of prices paid for calves at any sale barn you choose. And for years, cow-calf producers have wondered why.

Extension specialists from Lawrence County, Mo., took advantage of the experts on hand at the weigh-in for calves entered in the Missouri Steer Feedout. They recorded as many comments as possible from evaluators as they commented on each of the 15 groups of steers.

There were a variety of breeds, flesh conditions, colors, frame size and uniformity in the Missouri Steer Feedout groups. After the evaluation, the buyers and graders quotes were put together with the pictures of the groups and developed into a useful PowerPoint presentation.

Veteran cattle raisers may not learn much, but those who fall more into the beginning phases surely will read some statements that help you critique the kind of cattle you raise. Different buyers do have different orders.

You can access this PowerPoint slide show here.

So what did buyers say? Here’s a sampling of the comments from Matt Thompson, Crossroads Cattle Co., Columbia; Wes Spinks, Jerico Springs; Jackie Moore, Joplin Stockyards; Jodie Pitcock, USDA grader, St. Joe.

  • Color variation hurts the value of these
  • May finish a little light
  • Only a few will make Choice or better
  • Need more frame
  • Great haircoat
  • Maybe too fleshy for the sale barn
  • A discount here for ear and leather
  • I can’t sell eared cattle into northern or western markets
  • Nebraska cattle – they look for yield
  • Typical southwest Missouri cattle with a little bit of everything here
  • Top of the market type of cattle
  • They’re a little too full

Cole is the Extension livestock specialist in Lawrence County, Mo.

Source: University of Missouri, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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