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Just How did the Bull Sale Season End?

Just How did the Bull Sale Season End?

5/15/2018 10:39:00 AM/Categories: Popular Posts, Today's Top 5, Bull Production

Bull sale season is always an especially busy time if you are in the cattle business because whether you’re planning your own sale or looking for a new bull to buy there always seems to be another sale just around the corner. Sale season in our area began back in September and will be mostly finished up by mid-May.

After a widespread drought during the summer of 2017 many producers were worried about their hay supply going into winter and unfortunately, it showed little mercy. Montana and Wyoming were hit with an extremely challenging winter, many breeders noting that years like this bring out the strengths and weakness of any program. Stress began to grow for many producers when the tough start to the winter never let up, beginning to worry not only about their cattle's health but also about attendance at their sale. Kurt Kangas of American Angus Association noted that with the extreme winter conditions “people were there to buy or they weren’t there”. This meant many bleachers were full of serious cattlemen and a very focused crowd.

Despite the tough winter Black Angus saw strong numbers. Hinman Angus was a smash hit this year with their annual sale averaging over $7,300 on 181 bulls and selling 2/3 interest in HA Outside for a whopping $90,000. At their late February sale Coleman Angus of Charlo, MT topped the books for 2018 bringing $450,000 for ½ interest in Coleman Bravo. Stevenson Angus, home of America’s longest-running annual bull sale saw great success during their fall 2017 sale with the top 2 bulls bringing over $340,000 combined.

The overall average for Black Angus this year was $4,990 up from last year by almost $300. Broken out by month the strongest sale averages this year come from December ($5,600) and February ($5,100). Interesting to note that the month with the most bulls sold this year was March with about 3,800 sold at an average price of $5,000. This spring an impressive 68% of the bulls sold in MT & WY were Black Angus.

With their “Ranch Tested, Rancher Trusted” slogan Red Angus accounted for 11% of the bulls sold this spring and garnered an overall average of $5,073 which is up slightly from the previous year. In the spring 2017 sale season, a total of 1,736 Red Angus Bulls sold in Montana and Wyoming and averaged $5,009.  At their 6th Annual Production Sale Crump Red Angus of Gillette, WY had the top Red Angus lot with an impressive $52,000 sale on “Crump One of a Kind 7111” and averaged $6,671 on 117 bulls.

Hereford sales in our area remained stable, accounting for 4% of the bulls sold and accomplishing an average of $7,143. Jack Holden of Holden Hereford’s expressed that “there was strong demand for strong performance”. Buyers on the Hereford side seemed to have similar budgets to last year and prices for Hereford bulls are expected to stay steady over the next year. Holden’s experienced a strong amount of online bidding this year due to the weather and ended their spring sale with an average of over $8,300 on 146 bulls. The top-selling Hereford lot in our region happened in early March at the Annual Cooper Hereford Ranch Production Sale where the top bull brought a tremendous $170,000.

Across all breeds, one trend that seemed to fade slightly over this season was the high demand for calving ease bulls. Last fall calving ease and birth weight were in high focus for buyers but by spring the demand seemed to taper and shift more to weaning weight. In the coming years, it is expected that we will see an increased focus on PAP testing in an effort to control Brisket Disease in high elevations. Cattlemen can also expect to see a lot of attention coming back to feet and leg structure.           

At the wrap-up of this season, it is safe to say that seedstock sales in our area are stable and strong, compared to other states that are seeing a lot of volatility. According to Beef Magazine’s “2018 Beef Seedstock 100” Montana and Wyoming have 21 different operations on the list of Americas’ top seedstocks. Montana tops the list with 17 operations, more than any other state. Kurt Kangas affirmed this ranking with “we are an exporter of bull power”. Congratulations to all of our area producers on a great sale season!


Kurt Kangas of American Angus Association