**Please note** Cattle Sale will be on Tuesday 5/26 due to the holiday. Monday cattle sales to resume next week 6/1.

The Market Report

May 19, 2020

 Last year I was at an animal health meeting and sat beside a Dr. of Animal Health and Nutrition from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. I was trying to make the case that we needed to be more consistent with the animal health requirements between states. Having different requirements from state to state makes no sense. It only hampers commerce, costs producer’s money and does not accomplish anything. For example, some state requirements for the disease Brucellosis varies quite a bit. Some states require cattle to be vaccinated before entry, some states allow mature vaccinations, some don’t, some states have no requirements, some states require a blood test, the whole point I was trying to make is that there is a chance of one in a million we will ever have the disease anywhere in the US outside of a couple of guaranteed areas in a National Park in Wyoming. Knowing those facts, it is ridiculous for all the states to approach the requirements for that disease differently. The real solution to the problem is to require all animals involved in interstate commerce to be EID identified. That way any disease problem could be traced in a matter of minutes. That would serve as a great asset to all animal health issues and only be required if your cattle were going to be shipped across state lines.

The topic of health papers came up. We are partners in an IT company called Sale Time Systems that keeps the books for 65 Livestock Markets in the West, again we had some ideas to contribute. We have done a lot of animal health work with the state of Washington and have developed a system whereby after the sale you pull up a list of the cattle a buyer might have bought and hit a button and his health papers are printed and the cattle are ready to load. It is fast, and very inexpensive, and the state has all the information in their computer at the same time. It changed an old system of written documents mailed to the state and a few days later it was downloaded into the state computers by hand way after the fact. Now other states are looking at the system because of the real savings to both buyers, the state and how it improves the speed of commerce.

So here is what I want everyone that gets this report to know.  In about 1980 we started the very first animal health vaccination program. Other sales yards and marketing orders said not to waste your money on vaccinations because you will not get your money back when you sell your calves. The fact was, we were trying to get producer costs back by promoting vaccination, we were also trying to keep the calves alive for the buyer so they would come back to buy them year after year. It limits the use of antibiotics, saved that buyer money and improved our position with the consumer at the same time. It was a tough pill to swallow when we knew it was the right thing to do and others used it against us. Well today all those other Livestock Markets and marketing orders are yelling vaccinate and even better double vaccinate. The fact that it has taken nearly 40 years for others to see the real value in vaccinations is surely amazing.

The next issue i have on my mind is EID Tags that first came on the scene in 2000. Once we understood their value, we thought the whole country would be using them in a year. We tried to work with the CCA, the Livestock Markets Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Association to build a national program to protect the beef business from another disaster like the mad cow did a few years ago. Well again we had no luck. we were looking too far into the future and there was such a large list of reasons not to do it, a great idea was lost in the negative. So, we encouraged our customers to EID tag their calves because if we did have a national health disaster in the beef business, we could prove these cattle were not a part of the problem. The cattle we raise here would still have value. Well there has been a plan in motion the last few years that requires some form of individual identification before health papers can be issued for cattle to cross state lines. Here again the real value in EID tags allows us to read the tags in an alley and not catch each individual animal to place a tag in its ear. Can you imagine selling 1000 calves that will cross state lines and catching every single one to tag before they go on the truck?  We have in the past used ultra-high frequency tags because they read at a distance and are a lot more user friendly.  However, there were some problems with the tag we used, and we are waiting for a new replacement for the old tag. The idea of EID tags for cattle might have been too futuristic in 2000 but today it is not. We are going to stay on the leading edge of Ultra High Frequency technology in EID tags and push for a national program so all producers will be protected.

Third, I want to take a minute to talk about one of the most modern selection tools available today that will improve the real value of your cow herd. I like to compare bull selection to buying a new truck. It wasn’t long ago the selection was simple. We got a 3/4 Ton with very few options, you could add air conditioning, a radio, and perhaps four-wheel drive. So if you went to a dealer and saw a truck on their lot and looked it over you could see it had all the options you wanted, you got a price and bought the truck. Today buying a truck isn’t so simple you might see it’s a 3/4 Ton and has a radio with four-wheel drive but the options on engines,  transmissions, electronics, phones, seat options, outside warning, back up cameras, hitch options, and a host of other options available you can’t see by just looking at the truck.  Bull selection has made some amazing changes right along with these new pickups. In the old days, a keen eye and some hard-earned experience allowed a sharp cow man to improve the quality in his cow herd with great skill. In 30-40 years, he was able to create a cow he really liked. However, like the new truck he might purchase today he never really knew what was under the hood or inside until he saw all the options. The age-old question kept coming up, how do my calves perform for the buyer? The wonder of just what a bull can be worth to your cow herd prompted Lee Leachman to come up with a real answer to that question. Lee was a Harvard graduate with honors in statistics, so he knew numbers and he enlisted the help of two others, an old classmate from Harvard and a Dr. of Genetics at Colorado State University. They took all the EPD’s, broke them down in a computer and added real value to each one to build a real dollar value for any bull based on his genetic makeup over several years. So then you multiply that number by four years because that’s the average time a bull will spend in your cow herd and the number actually tells you what that bull is worth with a dollar number over those next four years. The dollar number is called $ PROFIT. The process was completed about nine years ago at the same time we started selling these bulls. It was a huge jump forward for those that want to produce calves that grade better, feed more efficiently, and create more demand every year. The truth is it takes about 30 years to make significant change in the calves you produce using visual selection but using the $ PROFIT number you will know just about where you are the very minute you buy these bulls. Here is another way to look at bull selection. Last year the average angus bull had a $ PROFIT number at around $8000. We sold almost 500 Topline-Leachman bulls last year and their real value to you or their $ PROFIT number averaged just under $16,000. Here is the most exciting thing about buying these bulls they cost the same as all other bulls. That is right, you get a bull with twice as much value as any other bull you might buy for the same price. Now, if we go back to buying a truck and they drive up two trucks that look the same and they are both priced for $75,000 out the door. One of those trucks has a real value of $45,000 the other has a real value of $75,000 because it is a lot better truck. It has a bigger engine, heavy duty transmission and lots more. You just can’t tell by looking. You need a lot of information on the truck you want before you write the check. When you buy a bull today with this new technology in the $ PROFIT NUMBER it’s just like buying the new truck. Two bulls might look the same, but the numbers tell you they are in no way alike. Here’s a great example, six years ago Topline – Leachman brought two potential herd sires that look very much the same but to get the $ PROFIT number on both bulls they put them on a feed test at CSU in Ft Collins. Both bulls went on feed at about 850 pounds, they both came off test at 1250 pounds in a 100-day test.  They both gained 4 lbs./day for 100 days. One bull ate 42 pounds of feed every day for 100 days. The other ate 17 pounds of the same feed every day the same 100 days. So, buying bulls is easier than it has ever been because of technology and this new $ PROFIT number. It tells us everything about the bull we are looking at but that we can’t see. You can predict how your calves will grade, yield, and feed, the minute you buy a $ PTOFIT bull.

Now to keep the record straight we sell tags but make very little selling them. We sell vaccines in our store, but I’m not involved in that so 101 Livestock won’t make money selling vaccines. We do not own any part of Topline-Leachman Bulls.  We do not raise them for Topline-Leachman.  We only sell them for Topline-Leachman. We do promote vaccines, EID tags and Topline-Leachman bulls because all three add value to your calf crop. It is not because we’re trying to sell you something that makes us money. Other Livestock Markets are now pushing vaccines and EID tags and that’s great for everyone however, 101 Livestock and Tulare County Stockyards are the only two places in the state where you can buy a Topline-Leachman Bull in 2020.  We get more excited about selling these bulls every year.

Most of you know by this time after 45 years we have moved our Tuesday cattle sale to Monday. It was not an easy decision, but when we started the cow sale this Monday, there were 100 people on the seats, and they came to buy cattle! Anytime there is change, it is a little stressful and things do not always go perfectly, but Monday was awesome. We started with cows and bulls and the bulls might be called steady, but the cows were on fire.  Good fat young cows traded up to $80 but mostly $70-$75. We sold one load of cutter cows a little on the full side for $73. Monday started with a bang. The feeder cattle were steady to a little higher in spots. We did not know what to expect on our first Monday sale, however with the seats full, there was not a slow spot from start to finish. It was also a learning experience of course, and next week we will sell pairs right after the cows so if we split any of the cows, buyers will all be there. Then we will sell some of the singles up to 12:00, then break for lunch and start back on feeders at 12:30. We will end up selling the last of the singles at the end of the sale.  Most of the trucks were loaded and gone by 9:00 pm. That is another important fact about the change. Trucks are easier to get on Mondays and when the sale is over at 3-4:00 pm we are loading trucks and they cross the hot country in the evening when it is a lot cooler.

There are a few things to work out before our next special feeder sale on June 1st but not much. For our first Monday sale things went smoothly. We did attract some new buyers of course and we expect that to only get better in the next two weeks. We would like to express our appreciation to the people that showed up to buy cattle. No sale in this state would come close to having so many small buyers on the seats weekly. The real lesson here is to not be afraid to make changes.  It can lead to improvement.


Jim Warren


Representative sales from Monday 5/18/2020


3 Blk steers avg 450# @ $147.00                                         4 Blk hfrs avg 341# @ $147.00

5 Blk steers avg 479# @ $139.00                                         9 Blk, BWF hfrs avg 437# @ $137.00

51 WF steers avg 512# @ $136.00                                    19 Blk hfrs avg 527# @ $127.00

23 Blk, BWF steers avg 519# @ 145.25                              7 Blk hfrs avg 543# @ $121.00

19 Blk, B BR steers avg 572# @ $135.50                         26 Blk, BWF, RED hfrs avg 586# @ $112.00

11 Blk steers avg 585# @ 136.50

9 Blk steers avg 596# @ 136.50

22 Blk, B BR steers avg 661# @ $131.50

11 Blk steers avg 731# @ $112.50

5 Blk, Char steers avg 763# @ 110.00

13 Blk steers avg 799# @ $113.50

3 Red, Brin steers avg 840# @ $115.00



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