Steamboat Springs On the drive of U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat, the sight of several spindly-legged calves gamboling in the pastures indicates that the calving season already has begun in Routt County.
But it’s never too early for ranchers to start thinking about next year’s generation of livestock.
More than 100 turned out for Saturday’s North Western Colorado Bull Sale on Saturday afternoon at the Routt County Fairgrounds, which netted the highest ever sales at $112,000.
In its 10th year, the North Western Colorado Bull Sale has grown to 35 bulls coming from 13 consignors from across the region.
Marsha Daughenbaugh, Community Agriculture Alliance executive director, said most of the bulls will stay in Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties and will populate the region with strong calves in the coming years.
“I think it’s some of the best bulls we’ve ever had,” Daughenbaugh said before the sale.
The average price for a bull at this year’s sale was $3,200, up $500 from the sale’s 2011 average. In 2011, the prices were up $500 from the year before.
The total sales were up $17,300 over 2011.
This year, two bulls sold for the highest price of $5,000 each.
The event started in the late morning with barbecue and fixings provided by the Routt County CattleWomen, who coordinated the event alongside the Community Agriculture Alliance and the Routt County Extension Office.
There were exhibits from local ranchers and businesses and plenty of socializing for the crowd, which was composed of several generations of ranching families.
Joe Schalnus, who returned to the event this year with his wife and children, said it is always great to catch up with the agriculture community.
But they were there for an important reason.
“We need a bull,” he said simply. In fact, his South Routt ranch could use two; Schalnus lost a bull that was hit by a car.
He said it’s the only sale he goes to and that it’s convenient and a boon to the local community to have such an event.
“This is an asset to local ranchers,” said Kristi Schalnus, Joe’s wife. “It’s good; you know where the bulls are coming from.”
She said the rising price of cattle means they might pay more than in the past at the sale, but it comes around.
“You’ll pay a little more for a bull, but your calves are worth more,” she said.
Daughenbaugh said a drought in the South for the past several years and an overall decline in national cattle stock has caused the prices to continue to rise.
And the bull sale is reflecting that trend.
“It’s good for the industry as a whole,” she said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com