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How do you sell your calves?

privately to individuals
4 (28.6%)
breed association sale
0 (0%)
group sale
0 (0%)
sale barn
0 (0%)
don't sell any
0 (0%)
combination of several options
10 (71.4%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Author Topic: How do you sell your calves?  (Read 4601 times)

Offline red

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How do you sell your calves?
« on: June 18, 2007, 06:35:08 AM »
How do you sell your calves? Do you sell them privately to selected people? Are you in a breed sale, like the Ohio Expo or the Shorthorn sale? Can you sell them in a joint venture sale? Do they go to the sale barn? Or do you not sell any but keep them as replacement heifers or go into a feedlot? Or are you like us & use several of the above options including private, joint, breed assocation, & keep.

Thanks for the input!

Red
« Last Edit: June 18, 2007, 06:36:42 AM by red »
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Offline OH Breeder

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2007, 10:40:58 AM »
I think it is tough for the small unknown breeder to get customers. There are a ton of folks selling club calves these days it seems. So, we sell if we can privately for feeders and then what is left over and doesn't go into the freezer or feed lot, go to the stock yard. I think we are going to try and sell bred females next fall because I had so many heifers this year. It seems like there are more options for sales and breds.
Life is too short....don't sweat the small stuff.

Offline red

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2007, 10:59:02 AM »
How do you market your calves?
Word of mouth or through sales?
It seems a lot are using the internet. Is that a good way to get our pictures out?

Red
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but most succeed because they are determined to."
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Offline chambero

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2007, 11:32:17 AM »
We sell show calves private treaty.  We used to have formal private treaty sales, tried taking groups (10-15 hd) to smaller club calf auctions, etc.  They weren't worth the trouble.  We found more often than not we were just helping sell other people's calves.  So, we sell them ourselves.  If folks won't pay what we want, we either show them ourself or send them to the feedlot.  We used to negotiate a lot and cut deals hoping it would pay off for return business down the road.  That's a bunch of crap.  Enough was enough when we sold two breed champions at Houston in the same year for way below what those calves should have brought and neither kid came back to us the next year.  They took their profit and spent it with big name jocks the next year.  I've learned with cattle just like my regular business - "lost leaders" almost never pay off.

We do occasionaly consign a calf or two to some of the big-time steer sales down here.  They usually pay off well.

We keep about half of our heifer crop for relacement females.  We take two pens (10 pairs each) to the a penned heifer show and sale at the Fort Worth Livestock Show each year.  They bring very good money (to us anyway) - pairs usually bringing between $2-$2500 a piece.  May not be gaudy numbers, but selling 20 like that every year helps pay the winter feed bills for the whole herd.  We keep most of the rest of our replacements ourselves.

The remainder of our calf crop is shipped straight to feedlots (we're about to wean our fall calves in a couple of weeks).  Someone buys them straight out of the pasture.  They go to our big lot in town for weighing and then are loaded on trucks that go straight to the feedlot.

The only thing we ever take to the sale barn is the non-productive cows, open heifers that don't breed on time, and the random leftover calf that isn't good enough (too small) to fit the feedlot group.

Offline Zach

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2007, 12:40:43 PM »
SEVERAL OPTIONS AT OUR PLACE

SINCE WERE NOT LIKE CATTLE TYCOONS, WE SELL TO PEOPLE WE KNOW.
SINCE WE KEPT 6 HEIFERS THE YEAR BEFORE, THIS YEAR WE TOOK ALL THE HEIFERS THIS YEAR AND TOOK THEM TO THE STOCK YARDS
MY DAD KNEW A GUY WHO NEEDED A GOOD BULL CALF FROM WORK. WE SOLD HIM OUR BEST BULL CALF IN THE WINTER.
 USUALLY WE KEEP THE HEIFERS AND EAT A STEER AND FEED TWO FOR 4-H STEERS AND SELL THE ONE THAT DOSN'T MAKE THE CUT

WE DON'T MARKET OUR CALVES, WE ONLY GET 12 OR SO A YEAR AND PEOPLE WE KNOW COME AND LOOK AT OURS AND PICK EM OUT.

WE DID SELL A CALF TO KERRY LAWRENCE ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO THAT WON LIGHTWEIGHTS AT A MAJOR PENNSLYVANIA SHOW :)
The livestock (show) industry is a tough one- if you've never had anything worth a damn you might as well go on the internet and rundown everybody you can.

Offline Olson Family Shorthorns

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2007, 12:54:58 PM »
We sell almost all of our calves for show calves.  We only have about 15 calves a year, so we don't rake in the big bucks or anything, but we do okay for a small herd.  We sell all the steers privately to 4-H kids, because I know how hard it was for me to get a good calf when I was younger.  We get more serious about heifers.  We either sell privately, or if they don't get sold fast enough for our liking, we put them on a Shorthorn sale somewhere in the state.  We have considered selling calves out of state at Beef Expos or the Polled Congress if it is close enough.  The only reason we don't is because we feel that we don't have enough clout to do well outside of our local area.  Buuuut.  If we can't get a calf sold for a show animal, we usually take them to the sale barn and make some good money on them... Or if we have an open pen, we feed them out as we always have people scrambling to buy half of my show steer every year.
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Offline justintime

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2007, 04:32:12 PM »
The internet has opened the world to even the smallest producer. OHIO BREEDER said it is hard for the smaller unknown producer to get customers. That is very true, but that does not mean it is impossible. What I think it does mean is that you have to try a little harder until you get some customers who have good results with some calves you produced. The internet  has changed alot of things. It allows anyone to place your breeding program in front of the world. Most of the people buying club calves are young ( at least they are the ones who show the calves, for the most part) and almost any kid I know can commute around the internet leaving us older guys coughing in the dust. The internet provides a very cheap method of advertising to anyone. Get yourself a website. There are lots of people who know how to set one up. I have a friend who had his website set up for a few pounds of good beef.... a product most of us have in a much bigger surplus than cash, sometimes. Link your website to some key club calf sites... like this one. Just as important get yourself a digital camera and take lots and lots  of pictures. I carry my camera in my truck at all times. Since I started doing this, it is absolutely amazing how many great pictures I have taken by just driving into the pasture and getting out of the truck and snapping a few. One of the best pictures of a herd bull was taken before I even got the truck to a complete stop. I  could see that the bull was standing near perfect as I drove up, so I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures as I was sure he was going to move before I got ready. I was able to take several of the best pictures I have ever taken of him. I took most of the pictures of my sale calves last summer in this way, and I doubt if I spent an hour in total taking some great pics. A digital camera is nice because you can take as many as you need too, to get that great shot. No more of that  snapping off a roll or two , running to town to the hour photo shop and then getting your prints , buying more film and heading back to the pasture because none of what you took earlier were OK to use. NEVER settle with a picture if you don't think it shows the animal to it's best ability. A good picture can be worth thousands of dollars. I probably have sold $40,000 to $50,000 of embryos to people all over the world, in the past 3 years, who have purchased them only by only viewing pictures on a website.
   If you have a good local market for club calves, keep an ad in the classified ads, and if you have a website, include the website address. That way, locals interested in buying calves can take a virtual tour before the come to see your calves. It seems everyone dreams of selling the $10,000 + calves. Yes, that is nice if it happens, but I don't think it is something everyone should chase. You will have repeat buyers if they buy your calves at reasonable prices and don't lose megabucks in the process. I don't know of too many people, no matter how rich they are, that enjoy losing money. Price your calves at reasonable dollars where you can make a good ( but reasonable) profit. If you happen to get the real hot dog calf along the way, well, then drag him out to a hot dog sale and promote him against the big boys. Most of all, integrity goes along ways, even in this business, that oftentimes seems to have little integrity in it. Honesty and honest dealings usually pay multiples of dividends over the years... and you can sleep at night!
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Offline chambero

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2007, 04:50:28 PM »
Very good advice justintime based on my own experience.  We haven't made the jump to a website yet, but someday......

I do drag my camera around nowadays. 

Like many sales discussed here, those really high dollar calves often aren't real prices.  That's why I generally don't like auctions.  If you are buying at one, you can often save yourselves a lot of trouble if you go ask what the "real" floor on one is.  The few times we've consigned one to a big sale, we set the floor up pretty high because its usually a uniquely good calf I'd rather hang on to than let go cheaply.

That's why we really prefer to sell directly to a buyer instead of an auction - whether its show calves or cattle destined for the feedlot.  I don't like the lack of control.  On feedlot cattle, you can usually get "kill" data on your calves now.  You usually have to pay for it, but its a great marketing tool to sell them the next time.  We just finished negotiating the prices on our calves that ship in a couple of weeks.  The market has been falling but we still were able to hang on to a pretty good price because of proof of past performance.  As you said, nobody likes to lose money.  If you want a premium for an animal you had better be able to offer the buyer a chance at making a premium in the end - be it commercial or show.

There may not be much integrity in the "show" business, but its no different than anything else.  We've witnessed a big ruckus this year where a guy leased wheat pasture on gain.  He was too cheap to fertilize it.  The other guys calves didn't gain, so the wheat field owner is **** he didn't get much for his pasture.  He accuses the other guy of having sick/sorry calves.  Getting a job or selling something is always about who you know (or who knows you or of you).  There are a million ways to do it, but if you want repeat business you (or your product) had better perform.

Offline cherokee1

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2007, 02:11:25 PM »
On the consumer end:

Some of our best calves have come from the small unknown's we beat alot of high dollar calves with 3 and placed first at State Fair with these calves.  We pd $900.00 for these calves.  I personally enjoy looking at calves on the internet and sometimes will go to some of these places based on the pictures, and reverse that if the pictures are bad or they do not have pictures then we usually skip going to that particular place, have we missed good cattle doing this absolutly. 

Sales around here, usually left overs and are meteoker at best.

I perfer buy and load sales with cattle priced appropriatly,( none of this everything starts at $5000.00 even the 3 legged calf in the corner). 
With the phone bids, how do you really know (and I have been burnt and had proof at the time) who you are bidding against if anyone.  When we first started this phone bid process, we were on a calf at $1400.00 they called  to ask if we wanted to go $15 I said yes.  Well the phones did not disconnect and I picked the phone back up to call my hubby to let him know I bid again,  and I could hear them after they had thought I was gone ranting about how the owners son wanted the calf for his girlfriend and to call me back and tell me I had to be $3000.00.  So I hung up waited for the call and then called them out on it.  I have never done business with them again, and have warned others.  If he did not want to sell the calf and wanted to keep it he should have just said it, I would have had alot more respect for him and probably would have continued to look and bid on his calves.

Offline Zach

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Re: How do you sell your calves?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 02:44:30 PM »
 (welcome)
The livestock (show) industry is a tough one- if you've never had anything worth a damn you might as well go on the internet and rundown everybody you can.

 

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