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Consignment Sales: ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN!

by Molly Clubb | Feb 23, 2011

Always have a plan!

The biggest way for the Longhorn Industry to sell cattle is through public auction.  Sales like the Longhorn World Championship, TLBAA Horn Showcase, or  the Legacy Sale attract big numbers and bring in big revenues.  There are sales all across the country, big and small, that allow breeders to showcase their breeding program through consignments and allow them to offer cattle at market prices to a large audience.   It’s the whole concept of an auction- take your animals to where the people are going to be, let the sale do the advertising for you and attract the people.

But how do you know what to consign to a sale?  In my opinion, one of the silliest things you could do,  is to randomly consign - Just randomly pick and chose what you want to sell.  Why? You need a plan! Most every breeder I have ever had the pleasure of meeting has a plan for their program but rarely do they have an idea of why they chose a certain animal for a certain sale.  Think about what you, as a buyer, are looking for when you purchase cattle at a sale...Using those guidelines will enable you to get the best prices for your consignments.

One of the biggest things we (at G&G Texas Longhorns) require when we consign AND buy is  that the cow is bred.  We will not put an open cow into a sale.  We just will not do so because the general conception is an open cow has something wrong with it.  It doesn’t matter if the bull missed breeding the cow, WE WILL NOT CONSIGN AN OPEN COW. And as a buyer we won’t purchase one either. 

Another tip is to consign your best animals at the best sales (and then attend those sales).  There is a stipulation about auctions on the East Coast: "If something is in the sale then something has to be wrong with it."  From farm equipment to horses, this has always been an East Coast attitude since my Grandfathers' time.  He'd give the examples of doctoring a piece of machinery or bute a horse just to sell it.  That’s where the “used car salesmen” cliche' came from.  And, in the Longhorn world, this also comes from people only consigning their "low end."  There are sales that we have all gone to where the prices are very low; reason being that the cattle are not that great, heck they might even be cull cattle that should be run across the scales. 

Always consign your best for a few reasons.


- Good cattle bring good prices anywhere. 

Take Jay Wachter of Sunhaven Longhorns for example.  Jay is a small breeder in Maryland who has less than 50 cows but he’s very active in the ET and AI sector of the industry.  The first year Jay was a partner of the Millennium Futurity he consigned his two best heifers (and they were good).  The first brought $25,000 as a yearling and the second brought $15,000 as a  two year old (sold in 2010 - when the market wasn't all that great!).  We’d all love to get that for our cattle and honestly there are a lot of breeders who’ll consign a dozen or so animals a year and be lucky if they get half of what those two animals brought . 

- Selling your best also brings recognition to your program and customers back to your ranch. 

Think about it. If all you consign is the low end of your herd people think “That’s all he or she’s got?” and they are reluctant to buy cattle off you private treaty.  People also think “Why won’t they sell any of their good cattle” so they won’t inquire about purchasing your good cattle.  I know they say this because all my life I’ve heard people say this.

BOTTOM LINE: Sell your best.  You’ll get top prices for them, recognition, and a loyal (and repeat) customer base.

Bear Davidson

Ranch Manager, G&G Longhorns

This blog is a guest entry and in no way reflects the opinions or suggestions of Hired Hand Software.

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