For serious cattle producers, it's never too early to start thinking about buying and selling top quality stock -- or about the advantages of doing so locally.
The Community Agriculture Alliance is taking consignors for the fourth annual North Western Colorado Bull Sale on April 8 at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden.
The sale is an opportunity to buy and sell bulls without incurring the costs of traveling to sales in Delta, Hesperus or the Front Range.
Buyers also know they are getting bulls adjusted to high altitudes, said Marsha Daughenbaugh, the alliance's executive director.
Her organization coordinates the event with the Routt County Extension Office and Routt County CattleWomen.
Producers are gradually catching on to the local auction's benefits. Organizers headed into the event last spring questioning its future, but they were pleased with the turnout.
Thirty-two of 48 registered buyers purchased bulls or heifers, and about half of those were return customers.
"I think that speaks highly for our sale," Daughenbaugh said.
The local sale's prices are competitive with other auctions. Last spring, 41 bulls sold for an average price of $2,900.
In addition to attending sales, ranchers also sell bulls and heifers by word of mouth, negotiating prices in private "treaties."
Some producers last April said they preferred selling at the bull sale because it attracted a variety of sellers and tended to reflect the true market. They also enjoyed the opportunity to network with other buyers and sellers.
The 2006 bull sale will be limited to 70 bulls and 10 pens of five heifers each. Consignors pay $125 a bull or pen of heifers.
Consignor forms are due by Jan. 27. Call Daughenbaugh at 879-4370.
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204
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