FINAL 2023 SALE UPDATE: We are nearly ready for our 7th annual Ichthys Cattle Enterprise bull and bred heifer production sale. Doesn’t seem possible that we are on our 7th sale already. Time doesn’t just move fast…it speeds up as it goes. Time used to draaaaaaag when I was 5 years old, but a year then was 20% of my life. Now a year is 2% of my life. One aspect of time regarding seedstock production is how it seems to drag building a reputation. In my hubris I thought we would be able to sell cattle as easily and for as much as when we sold through Pharo Cattle Company. Time is once again dragging (building a seedstock reputation) like when I was 7. It is hard (impossible actually) to believe we will ever sell bulls for what long-established bull producers are currently averaging in their sales.
But that’s okay! I’m currently hearing of $6000 sale averages for bulls and commercial bred heifers bringing $2700. We don’t need to average $6000/ bull to make money (we average less than half that). We have an ultra low-cost model for seedstock production that is even more about producing the right kind of bulls and heifers than it is about saving money. There isn’t another seedstock producer I would buy bulls from to become herd sires in our program. It’s not because they don’t have good genetics, they do, but I am confident they don’t put enough pressure on their cattle to sort out the ones that shouldn’t become seedstock. I’m confident I could destroy their herd running them the way we do ours. I had to destroy our herd for years to get where we are now. I will buy their semen, but we buy back all the bulls we use in our herd from ICE. It’s not just genetics that matter, it’s the pressure that is applied to sort the worthy from the unworthy (and the unworthy taste GREAT!).
So, how do I see the sale going? I’m as unsure as ever. We have the most interest and the most SUS bids that we’ve ever had. My expectation is that we might sell a higher percentage of animals than in the past (we typically have several no-sale bulls but have always sold all of the heifers). However, I still expect no-sale bulls, and I don’t expect a record-setting average (would prefer to be wrong on both counts). I say all of that to say this: I am confident everyone who is interested in our philosophies and genetics will be able to get an excellent bull for significantly less than they can find elsewhere. We are the discount, bargain-basement, on-sale, 50% off, drive-it-like-you-stole-it seedstock producer for maternal trait grass genetics. I’m hoping, if I’m around and if God graces us to keep doing this, that when ICE Cattle is 20, time won’t be grinding so slowly.
Thank you for the texts, emails, phone calls and visits because you are interested in our program. We are tough on our cattle because we think it is the right thing to do for customers who need solid bulls and cows. We have sent out animals that didn’t work in the herds they went to. I hate that…and I do everything I know how to keep that from happening in the future.
Grace to you all.