Cattleman's Fall Sale Guide

The seasons are changing, cattlemen. Bring on cooler weather and harvest fall, we’re ready for you. Those changes bring those fall production sales that give us the good feels. You know- crisp, cool air wandering the sale barns with catalog and coffee in hand searching for the next great improvement to your herd. 

As you’re sorting stock looking for the next potential donor cow or show heifer, it’s important to keep your priorities in check. A good deal is hard to pass up, but are those cheap cows worth their grain of salt? The decisions you make now will influence your herd for years to come, so giving up those numbers in the EPD line up may not be suited for this year’s crop. It’s time to consider a new tactic when roaming those fall sales.

Buy from people like you.

More than likely you’ve run across those breeders who make your skin crawl. The ones who have good stock, but can’t mask that smelly personality tacked on your recent purchase. Typically they’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth and may be less-than-willing to make things right when that superior cow they’ve pushed on you isn’t producing.

Your herd deserves better. You deserve to walk away with better relationships.  A good cow not only comes from good bloodlines, but good people. Purchasing an animal from a sale is an investment, the producer should invest in you as well. Without buyers, breeders can’t continue. The way you operate may not be the same as everyone else, but finding that producer that is on the same level as you means more than you’ll realize.

Avoid impulse buys.

That $300 pair of boots you bought last week. Did you really need them? That eight thousand dollar heifer that will make a statement at Louisville but never make a cow. Did you need her? More than likely you thought she’d make your money back down the road, but now things aren’t too promising. It’s not your fault that she caved, but letting others influence your decision can cause more damage than a wind storm.

Paying more for quality makes a happier buyer in the long run.

Plot twist: That eight thousand dollar heifer treated you well. Regrets? None. Spending a little more on superior quality and genetics can put you years ahead. Buying quantity may increase the number in your herd, but forgetting quality is like forgetting to close the gate. It ends badly, no one is happy and you’ll never forget again.

Chat with previous buyers.

Call them influencers. Knowing someone who has recently purchased from the sale you’re scoping out can make or break your decision. Better yet, talk to your breed field representative about your goals as a breeder. Maybe so and so’s cattle aren’t fit for your herd, try a sale next week or keep looking. Having been a year since the sale has passed, your neighbor may have a good idea of what genetics you’ll be jumping into.

As the catalogs roll in and the air cools down, remember to enjoy the fall sale season, even if things get a little crazy. Take the family with you, make a day or a weekend of it or gather up the crew and make a game plan. No matter how you tackle the fall sale season- safe travels, buy the heifer and enjoy.

Callie TaylorFall