Part of Saturday was occupied with another bull sale. While not specifically looking to buy another bull, I was interested in seeing how they looked.
This bull sale is part of a bull test, where multiple producers send bulls to a location and they're fed and information is collected on them. This information includes average daily gain, weight per day of age, and other performance-related indicators. Only those bulls that were in the top 80 percent of the test can be sold through the sale.
Having all the bulls together allows you to select them based on performance against their peers in addition to just their pedigrees and personal performance numbers. You also get to select from multiple producer's bulls, as opposed to a single producers if you go to his production sale. Seeing a wide variety of sire groups, and how they perform against each other, is also interesting. These bulls are also fed differently than a lot of private producers would feed theirs, which can be a good or a bad thing.
It gives the producers who put bulls in the test an idea of how their cattle perform, both individually and against other bull producer's cattle.
As with any bull sale, potential buyers look through the pens of bulls prior to sale, making notes and selecting which animal's they're interested in purchasing. Catalogs provide pedigree, ownership, performance, and EPD information on each animal.
There is a lot of discussing, looking, moving the animals around, and weighing options while looking through the various pens.
Then you might take a closer look at the individual animals you're particularly interested in.
Each bull is run through the sale ring individually, and you bid in a live auction situation for any animals you want to buy. People could also bid over the Internet at this sale, and most sales also provide a phone line you can call to bid through if you're unable to attend.
Regardless of how you bid, you need a buyers number in case you are the winning bidder. You fill out your information prior to the sale, and they give you this number.
If you're at the actual sale, all it takes is a brief wave of the hand, or nod of the head, and one of the guys standing in front of the ring will yell that they have your bid. Should you be the winning bidder, you show them your buyer's number, and it's that easy to be the proud new owner of a bull.
Then you have to pay for him, take him home, and deal with him for hopefully the next four years.