SALE PREPARATIONS CONTINUE
I am pleased to announce that we expect the most important part of the sale to come to fruition: Doreen Greenhalgh has arrived to make cinnamon rolls! Mom and Dad arrived this morning and are GREAT at helping out. They see the things others don’t notice or fix problems others don’t know how to figure out. I typically have a Dad-do-list whenever he comes up. Some parents show love by giving money or things, mine work…and that is dandy!
We’ve had multiple customers inquire about lot #16. We have determined that his sire is not Easy Red. His dam is a registered red angus cow and we are assuming she got bred to a composite with Tarentaise bloodlines. He looks like a Tarentaise (and he looks great!). We will be selling him as an unregistered composite red angus/tarentaise cross. If you are looking to improve udders, I highly recommend a little Tarentaise breeding. Much thanks to those who pointed this out to us. Please, anyone do the same if you think there might be a problem.
Most, if not all, of the registered Herefords now have EPDs. Ashley said there were some issues with AHA, and we apparently have those all cleared up. I personally am NOT a big EPD guy. I do think they are a tool that can be helpful. I don’t think bull purchase decisions should be made based on numbers only. There are bulls (a lot of them) with “numbers” in the fancy semen catalogs that I would be ashamed to have on my place after a winter here. I might get turned in for animal abuse.
Instead of EPDs, first and foremost for me is the program, does it sort out animals that should never be seedstock? Feed can make a lot of cattle that should never breed look good. The management protocols of a program must put pressure on the potential bulls (and replacement females) so that problems are culled. Second most important for me are proven grass genetics, sires that have shown they can produce excellent grazing bulls and heifers. Excellent genetics without pressure in the program, however, will produce all sorts of volume to sell on sale day. Even Tom Brady, if he has enough sons, will have some that can’t throw a football very well. I will put EPDs in third place. I want calving ease and not a lot of milk. A heavy milking cow will have a tougher time rebreeding because her calories are going to milk instead of reproductive health. Interestingly enough, if a cow doesn’t have calving ease, she is gone at ICE because of how we run our program. If she doesn’t breed back because she has too much milk, she is gone because of the program. This is one argument as to why we don’t really need EPDs. Thought to ponder: Why do so many programs stress EPDs? If you are propping up your animals (feed and forgiveness) for the sake of “numbers,” you aren’t helping your customers. We once went to a registered herd dispersion sale and found out that a significant number of their cows had missed, some multiple times…but they were still using them to produce seedstock. I believe this is a fairly common practice. If you sell a bull out of a cow for $5000 or more (you reason), you can afford to give her a free year of feed. For the sake of integrity, and the customer, no seedstock producer should do this…in my opinion.
Other EPDs may have some value, and I congratulate someone who understands them well enough to use them. However, I know our program, and I know what looks good and does well in it. EPDs have room for human manipulation and that is another reason I don’t rely heavily on them. I’m NOT criticizing those who do, but I would suggest not leaning heavily into them.
SALE DAY COACHING TIPS
As I’ve stated before, based on past history I expect to have several no-sale bulls at the end of the sale. However, I would be DELIGHTED to be wrong about the bulls. One indicator that gives me hope that I will be wrong is the amount of interest being shown. Every year we’ve had a step up in interest, and from last year to now we’ve taken the biggest leap. Here’s the coaching tip: In the event that I’m wrong, and you are wanting to get a bull in this sale, please make your list of potential bulls as long as possible and consider increasing your bidding limit. I do not believe we have any bad bulls in this sale. If 10 people have their heart (and budget) set on 1 bull, and one bull only, then he’s probably going to bring a record…and we’ll have 9 unsold bulls. Yes, I believe some bulls are better than others. No, I don’t believe the difference is so significant that you can’t select another bull and be satisfied. With our quality assurance guarantee you can buy a bull other than your first-round draft pick, and if you don’t like him prior to your breeding season, we will buy him back. We want satisfied customers, and our program is designed around that. I’m hard on our cattle in part because I don’t want to be apologizing to you for a problem animal.
As always, any unsold bulls will be available after the sale at the base price of $2500. This will be on a first claimed basis. We typically sell about half of the no-sale bulls immediately after the sale and within the next few days. I do not expect to keep very many bulls, if any, intact more than a couple weeks after the sale. If no one wants them as breeders, someone will want to eat them. (We are currently planning to ship 31 whole, processed beeves to California in April.)
It sounds like there might be more trailers than usual at the sale. We have at least 4 driveways you can park off to the side of and more space east of the bins if necessary. When you load out, you will want to drive between the house and bins (east of the house, west of bins), swing around to the west and south (by the old machine shed) and back up to the loading area south of the barn. The loading area is just north of the cattle pot chute.
Grace to you.