Just Your Standard Bull

Michael Sturgess, Southern Livestock Standard

March 4, 2024

            March 1—and here begins the run of spring production sales. With the January-February rainfall, and the recent stretch of warm weather, optimism for a strong spring is very high.

            In this issue of the Southern Livestock Standard, you will see the results of the 33rd Annual San Antonio All Breed Bull and Commercial Female Sales. You will note that the averages for both bulls and females was very strong. But I would encourage you to read further into the sale report, because honestly, the averages do not tell the complete story.

            When reading further, you will note something that I believe we will see all spring. And that is quality sells at a high premium. In this sale, like many others we will have this spring, the competition for the top end of the offering is at an all-time high. On the bulls, the front-end bulls that excel in multiple categories are selling at a pace much higher than ones with average numbers and information.

            We are seeing the same on females. The front-end females with superior condition, weight per day of age, etc., are outselling the females with average or below average numbers and body score. Many of you say, well sure! That makes sense right?

            What is surprising is the margins between the good ones and the average ones is quite high. In an all-breed environment, we have multiple consignors that are all encouraged to bring their best to town. Certainly, the best that some have to offer will be better than the best others have to offer. In a production sale environment, you may be looking at a single breeder. However, before you decide to go their sale and just buy the top end, I encourage you to consider a few things. 

            First of all, what were their minimum standards? Are you comparing the same standards for different breeders, or are there different standards? Secondly, the bottom of one offering may not be equal to the bottom of others. The cream always comes to the top, but how strong is the bottom of the offering?            Things to consider out there as you are selecting bull and female replacements. Because whether you are producing purebreds or commercial calves, quality is at an all-time premium

Southern Livestock

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