How Much Can I Sell my American Aberdeen For???

How much can I sell my American Aberdeen for?

What most people would like to hear is this: “If you paid xxx dollars for your
cow/bull then you should be able to sell offspring for the same price.  In fact,
that is rarely a true statement unless you bought your breeding stock at their
slaughter value and that value has remained the same. We must remember: the
number one thing that drives the market for cattle is demand for the end product,
beef. Somehow, we in the Aberdeen industry have failed to communicate that fact
to new people entering the business. Cattle like other commodities are
considered a renewable resource and if there is not a terminal market on the top
end for the product, there will come a time when no one will want your cows,
because there will be more available than the demand.

 

I experienced this personally about 20 years ago when I realized that my
wonderful emus, with such truly wonderful healing oil and low fat meat were not
going to be consumed by the American public at the rate that the birds were
being hatched and grown out. We had a glut of emus and no market. What a
disaster! That’s when I decided I was not going to raise anything else that I had to
convince people to eat. I have stuck with that decision and am glad that the world
loves Angus meat. There is no problem convincing the American public that
Aberdeen beef is top quality, tender and marbles well as a grass-fed product. The
problem is convincing Aberdeen breeders that most of their calves should go to
satisfy that market. Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that all of our
heifers and bulls deserve to be breeding stock—-and that is just not true.

 

American Aberdeen are still in the growing stage of their breed development and so
there is still a demand for female breeding stock. Good breeders always want to
provide heifers and cows that are going to perform well for their clients.
Consequently, a breeder ‚¬ „¢s reputation may be made or broken by how well he/she
services clients. It’s disappointing for both parties when things don’t go as
planned, but sometimes heifers end up going into the beef market.

 

Bulls are another matter. There will always be a healthy market for quality
herd sires. But, I would say that the biggest mistake most Aberdeen breeders will
make is to think that their weaned bull calf should be a herd sire. It is rare case
that a bull calf can be considered as a potential herd bull until he is at least a year
old. Not everyone has an eye for making that call. So for most of us who have
limited numbers and limited space, we would be better off and our reputation
would be better off if we would just make the decision to steer out our bull
calves. Let someone else who has the eye, time and the room produce the bulls.

 

But the question still remains, “How much can I sell my American Aberdeen for?  All
other factors being equal, the price should be driven by quality, age and
availability. However, other factors such as body condition, temperament,
training and breeder reputation certainly come in to the picture as well. In
regards to heifers and cows, remember that a cow should give you numerous
offspring over her productive years and she should perform well. Here’s a list of
good performance traits that I got from the Stockman Grassfarmer in the
November 2012 issue: 1) She must not get sick ever. 2) She must lose her winter
coat before  June 1st. 3) She must be 100% docile. 4) When sexually mature, she
must breed. 5) She must stay in good body condition in extreme hot and cold
weather. 6) She must be deep chested, exhibit a large gut, wide butt and good
udder. 7) She must show good parasite resistance. Not everyone’s list is the
same, so people must decide what is most important for their needs. Also,
understand that not every one of your cow’s calves may be good performers so
don’t expect to make your money back on the first heifer she drops. I recently
sold a bred 10 year old mama cow that had produced a healthy calf every year
from the time she was 2 years old. She is still going strong and I fully expect her
to have at least 5 more calves. She more than paid for her stay at my place, but
when I sold her I took into consideration the fact that she was 10 years old and
past the age that most people were looking for. Look at the SABA and American Aberdeen Associaion
classifieds to help you with pricing your animals and ask other breeders who have
similar situations as yours.

 

My best advice regarding young bulls or steers is to use the commercial
market as your guide. Better still, raise them as grass-fed beef and post flyers in
local stores to sell as grass-fed freezer beef. A friend of mine does this and sells
his grass-fed steers for about $5.00/lb. hanging carcass weight. On a 400 pound
carcass you would get $2000 for your finished steer. I do not recommend that you
take your fullblood bulls or steers to the local sale barn. You will be docked
significantly because the Aberdeen height will not fit in with what commercial
buyers want for feedlots. Some Moderator and Moderator plus calves may sell
for full prices right along with the other animals their age.   Many sale barns post
weekly reports online to guide listing sale prices per hundred weight for different
weights of steers.   If you don’t have access to a scale you can measure the chest
circumference to get a pretty close estimate for the weight and then advertise
these animals on the SABA or American Aberdeen Association website for what they are worth on the
slaughter market.   Recent sales in my area show that 400-500lb. steers were
bringing $1.90 to $2.35 per pound live weight.   This will vary from week to week
and location to location.

Call or email me if you have more questions about what I have presented here.

Bill Cabaniss, President
Southwest Lowline Angus Breeders Association
512-627-5443/  lowlines@pecancreekfarm.com

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