Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Salebarn Day

Last week I volunteered to take the open cows (those who are not pregnant) and our cull bulls to the sale barn. This was for a variety of reasons: get out of the house, I love going to the salebarn, it was a beautiful day, I wanted to see if they would let me take pictures to go with future articles on relevant topics.
So away I went, with a 28-foot trailer loaded to the hilt. I happen to know the manager at St. Onge, as most people in this area do, and he happened to be at the trailer chute area when I arrived. I asked about taking pictures, and he graciously gave me free rein, and let his crew know I would be wandering around.
Photographer heaven ensued, and here are a handful of favorites from the hour or so of shooting I enjoyed before stopping for a bacon cheeseburger in the barn's café.


I love sale barns (they prefer to be called livestock auctions). You can see the entire scope of the cattle industry while sitting through a sale. Where it's been and where it's going, the confidence and optimism of the area's ranchers, the quality of the year at hand, beef demand, and so many other things are displayed and determined as the various lots are weighed, bid on and sold.

On this particular day, as has been the case in recent weeks, the sale primarily consisted of open heifers, cull bulls, and a few cull cows. The majority of running age cows in this part of the country have not been preg checked yet, and are still out on summer grass. They will pick up in weeks to come, and continue through the fall run and early winter months, before trickling off again as calving season nears.

Most sale barns around here go to one sale a week during the slower summer months, but increase that number to two or three sales during the peak fall and early winter marketing months. When they go to multiple sales per week, one will be focused on dry and open cows, or "weigh-ups," and another will be for calves and yearlings. Bred heifers and cows may also warrant their own sale day, or be combined with one of the other two categories.
This was my personal favorite photo of the day. While still a few weeks away, the sheer volume of pens on the load-out side of the ring speak to the fact that the fall run is coming, and that thousands of calves and yearlings will soon make their way through this and other barns across country, resulting in their owners one major paycheck for the year. While you can't tell in black and white, the pens are sporting several new boards, are clean and ready for the rush that will soon descend upon them.
The cattle business is a beautiful business.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photographs to say the least! I appreciate how you capture so many aspects of the industry in such a beautiful way! It's amazing how so much is revealed about our industry through something as simple as a photograph. I'm a student at Utah State University participating in a national scholarship competition known as College Aggies Online, which focuses primarily on advocating for agriculture. Its only week three in the competition, and I know that I still have much to learn. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective not only on ranching, but also for sharing your artwork!