March 22nd was another great day to hold the Red Deer Simmental Bull Sale at the Westerner Grounds, in Red Deer, Alberta. Despite a snowstorm threatening to move through the north of our region, and a lot of construction at the Westerner itself, a strong crowd was on hand to see a diverse group of bulls sell. Astute cattlemen had the opportunity to have a hot beef lunch, visit with consignors, and inspect a high quality group of bulls, before watching them strut their stuff in the sales ring.
In what has become a sale tradition, consignors Starwest Farms led off the sale with Lot 22, ‘Starwest Pol Eagle Eye’, one of several impressive Spitfire sons that they had on offer. ‘Eagle Eye’ sold for $9,000 to Northern Lights Simmentals in Manitoba. Only a few lots later, it was another Spitfire son, Lot 23, ‘Starwest Evidence’ who, after some spirited bidding, ended up topping the sale at $31,000, with MI Simmentals / Mike & Allison Imler of Okotoks being the successful new owners. On the purebred side, the high seller was Lot 1 ‘OH KAY Edgar’ who was selected by Zadunayski Farms / Darcy Zadunayski from Vimy for $10,000.
It was a really awesome day for Applecross Cattle, as we were really happy with the condition and shape our bulls were in. They managed to weigh within 30lbs of each other, which created a well balanced pen of bulls (although we may be just a little biased!). We had a tremendous number of inquiries leading up to the sale, and were humbled by the number of compliments we received on our program. Our two polled bulls were chosen to be the 2nd and 3rd bulls in the ring, with impressive results. After being selected by R-Five Simmentals for $18,000, Lot 47 ‘APLX Wrangler 16E’ is staying in Central Alberta in the fine herd of Jim & Desiree Matson of Bluffton. Lot 48, ‘APLX Rocky 24E’ is Saskatchewan bound, after being acquired by Double G Simmentals / the Goodman’s at Stalwart for $13,000. And finally, a little later in the sale, Lot 49 ‘APLX Wyatt 1E’ was selected by Mullen Land & Cattle / Shaun Mullen at Strathmore for $4,500. It was a tremendous day, and we are excited to see what our bulls can do for their new owners.
Overall, similar to the 2017 Red Deer Bull Sale, 5 bulls ended up topping the 10,000 threshold with the 15 high sellers being split fairly evenly between fullblood and purebred bulls on offer. In total, 48 lots sold for an average of $6,750 – a nice increase from the 49 bulls averaging $6,100 in 2017.
Once again we need to recognize the team at Transcon for doing a tremendous job working the phones and managing the sale. Jay Good and his team are always a quality sales management group – constantly on the phone while inspecting cattle for prospective buyers. Since interest and bids don’t always result in a purchase, you can’t always see their work – but that certainly wasn’t the case for Red Deer 2018. Fully 31% of the sales volume was sold ‘Transcon on Order’ – a truly remarkable amount! We look forward to working with them again later in the year at Fleckvieh Equation!
With both the bull sale and calving now behind us, our thoughts move directly to breeding season, and the never ending quest to breed better cattle. With the results of Fleckvieh Equation and Red Deer Bull Sale both fresh in our mind, it is validating that our genetics are being accepted by the industry. But being a purebred cattle breeder is always a journey – and there are so many ways that we can still work to improve both our herd and sale offerings. Yes, the horns will continue to come off our cattle, but we certainly won’t be successful if we single-trait select – so we will continue to keep an eye on feet, volume, udders and temperament to ensure we stay on (what we believe is) the right track (for our operation). We are really excited about the calves we have on the ground – and equally excited about how our bred heifer pen has developed. We are truly fortunate (and very blessed) to own and operate Applecross Cattle where we can continue in our quest to provide new, better, and different genetics to share with the industry.