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A whole lot of bull

Northwestern Colorado Bull Sale today in Routt County

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— Save the day to save your dollars - it's the sixth annual Northwestern Colorado Bull Sale, going on today at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden.

Fifty-nine bulls and 25 heifers will be sold at live auction. The animals can be viewed after 9 a.m., and the Routt County Cattle Women will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The auction starts at 1 p.m.

Angus, Gelbvieh and Hereford breeds have been consigned. Community Agriculture Alliance Coordinator Marsha Daughenbaugh said most of the animals are registered but some commercial Angus have been consigned.

All bulls have been PAP, BVD, Trich and fertility tested.

All heifers are assumed to be open.

Cattle producers also will have the chance to bid on a rack of semen provided by Noble Genetics. They will have a choice of four outstanding bulls, three Angus and one Hereford. Consignors are from Walden, South Routt, Hayden, Craig, Collbran, Carbondale, Hotchkiss and Steamboat Springs.

Daughenbaugh said 100 percent of the bid price is returned to the seller. The Northwestern Colorado Bull Sale was started to provide an opportunity for local cattle producers to buy and sell top-quality bulls and heifers.

There are several benefits to having the local sale. First, the cattle are acclimated to the topography and climate of the area. Second, the sale is developing a quality reputation, and prices are competitive with other auctions.

Third, the sale is one of the last of the season, so buyers will not accrue additional feeding costs. And since the sale is local, buyers and sellers do not incur travel and lodging expenses. Producers support their neighbors and the local cattle industry.

According to Daughenbaugh, the sale committee is trying something different this year. All consigners and registered buyers will be given a ballot to vote on the top two bulls of choice. These top two, Ranchers' Choice and Crowd Favorite, will go first and second at the sale.

In 2003, the first year for the sale, 47 bulls sold for $68,250, an average of $1,492 per bull. The next year, there were 44 bulls that averaged $1,592, and the sale total was $70,050. In 2005, 41 bulls averaged $2,086. Ten heifers also sold that year, averaging $850, bringing the sale total to $94,050.

In 2006, 45 bulls averaged $2,242, 10 heifers averaged $875, and one heifer was leased for $350. The sale total was $110,000. And last year, there were 45 bulls that averaged $1,844, plus five heifers averaging $1,000. The total proceeds were $88,000.

The bull sale is coordinated by the Community Agriculture Alliance, the Routt County CattleWomen, and the CSU Routt County Extension.

Daughenbaugh said, "This sale is a real benefit for consignors and purchasers because it is an at-home sale, so not only do buyers benefit by buying good quality, but they get an opportunity to visit with their neighbors."

Marsha Daughenbaugh (Community Agriculture Alliance) can be reached at 879-4370. Go to communityagriculturealliance.org for a sale catalog.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2008. All rights reserved.

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