Friday, April 22, 2011

Northwest Colorado Bull Sale

Each April, the Community Agricultural Alliance, along with the Routt County Cattlewomen, and CSU, organize and host the Northwest Colorado Bull Sale, held at the fairgrounds in Hayden, Colorado. This is an opportunity for local and regional producers to sell their bulls to ranchers who need replacement bulls or bulls with a different genetic profile to add to their cow-calf program.

The sponsors of this annual event are proud of the seed stock offered for sale. Cattle raised in this country are considered hardy and healthy. Born on ranch land that is between 6000 and 8000 feet in elevation and covered in snow for four to six months during the winter, young cattle develop a hardiness not seen in other environments. These high altitude cattle have better pulmonary arterial pressure scores (indicating greater resilience) and suffer from fewer diseases.

This year’s bull sale, April 16th, attracted buyers and sellers from all over northwestern Colorado. Thirty-five bulls and a pen of four heifers sold for an average price of $2700 an increase of $500 from last year’s sale. Talk around the bull sale was one of optimism over the vibrancy of today’s beef market. Prices today for replacement heifers and feeder steer calves are 20-30% above recent historical values.

Each year the best part of the sale is catching up with neighbors after a long, hard winter, and this one was exceptionally hard on everyone and every living thing. Conversation fills the sale barn from start to finish. And once all the bulls are sold, sorted, and claimed, attendees walk out into the muddy parking lot and slip into their trucks for the ride home. Although still unsettled and cool, the busiest season of the ranching year has begun.

Photo courtesy Matt Stensland Steamboat Pilot and Today

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