March 26th was a bit of a surreal day to hold the Red Deer Bull Sale at its emergency location of the Innisfail Auction Mart, in Innisfail, Alberta. It was a gorgeous, late winter, sunny day, but it was with mixed emotions that only a handful of people were on hand to see a great group of bulls sell. The social distancing measures required for everyone’s safety meant only a trickle of bull buyers toured through the bulls over the three days prior to the sale. Thanks to digital technology, a great facility, and a hard working sales team, despite a lot of trepidation, the sale turned out to be a tremendous success.
The first bulls through the ring were from our good friends at Skywest Simmentals, who presented two contrasting sire groups in ‘Duramax’ and ‘Spartan’. With ‘Spartan’ being an ‘APLX Santana’ son, we have always kept an eye on his highly appealing calving-ease progeny, but once again it was the ‘Duramax’ string that pushed the scale down and started the sale with a bang. It was lot 19 – Skywest Gridiron, a 1615 lb behemoth that measured 44.5cm, who led off the day, and ended up as the high seller, after being selected by Leewood Ranch for $11,500. Overall, 61 lots sold for an aveage of $5,810.
The highlight of the day for Applecross Cattle was the return of one of our commercial clients, JNJ Simmentals, Jim and Janet Woynorowski of Westlock. Jim & Janet selected APLX Dakota at the 2019 Red Deer Bull Sale, so it was pretty special to watch them pick up two more bulls from us this year in Lot 41, APLX Durango, and Lot 43, APLX Mayhem. The Woynorowski’s are also home to APLX Rambo and APLX Clancy, so it is pretty neat to have 5 bulls carrying our prefix all working at one operation.
Our other four bulls all found great homes as well. Garnet Marshall was in to tour the bulls on Tuesday, and was the successful bidder on Lot 38: APLX Dodger, while Frank Deur drove up from Crossfield to select the calving ease of Lot 42 in APLX Diego. Both APLX Dynamo and APLX Delgado were selected by online buyers in Gerry Smith and Ashley Perepelkin respectively, both of whom are located not that far from Applecross Cattle! All in all, despite all the nerves of the day, we are quite happy with how our bulls showed up, and how they were received by their bidders and buyers. Complete buyer information and prices have been added to the individual bull pages located to the right.
For ourselves and our fellow consigners, the 2020 Red Deer bull sale was incredibly stressful. With the Covid-19 outbreak, our original sales location shut its doors, resulting in a bit of panicked scramble. We cannot stress enough, the value we found in Transcon calling in a favour and organizing the relocation of our sale to the Innisfail Auction Mart. Danny and Dusty Daines were incredible hosts, and welcomed us to their facility with open arms. There was such a starkly different contrast between our regular location at the Westerner Grounds (where we have increasing felt like a nuisance more than a customer), and the hospitality, authenticity and professionalism of the Innisfail Auction Mart. It is not a surprise that it was announced to lead off the sale that the Innisfail Auction Mart with be the new home of the Red Deer County Bull Sale!
Buying bulls is also something that is typically done based on physical inspection. Pictures and videos certainly help, but there is nothing better than actually seeing a bull to determine whether he is a ‘fit’ for everyone’s respective program. With attendance restricted due to ‘social distancing’, it was once again Jay Good and his team at Transcon, who stepped into the void and helped get the bulls sold to ensure a successful day for all the consignors. Bull sales are a big source of income for all the consignors – and the results of 2 years of hard work, planning and developing genetics. It is pretty surreal (and stressful), to be sitting in the auction mart on sale day, with only a handful of people in attendance when there are 60 bulls to sell! So it was a very reassuring feeling that ‘Transcon Online’ and ‘Transcon on Order’, did the bulk of the heavy lifting. Glenn, Darren and Cody all had front row seats with a phone in one ear and bidder orders in hand, which led to a steady stream of bids and buys throughout the day. Considering the situation and circumstances, it was an incredibly successful day, and we really appreciate the hard work that our sales management team put in to make the 2020 Red Deer Bull Sale so memorable. We must admit though, we are already looking forward to a more ‘normal’ 2021 version!
With both the bull sale and calving now behind us, our thoughts move directly to breeding season. We have some recips this year, have dusted off some old proven options for AI, and have a brand new walking bull to test out. It is an exciting time for Applecross Cattle to continue in our quest to provide new, better, and different genetics to share with the industry.