Riding Shotgun – Product Driven
It’s been an interesting sale season so far and with the challenges of weather and Mother Nature it will be one we remember for a while. It’s very disheartening for breeders to work for years to breed, raise and present a set of bulls to the public, and then have to fight Mother Nature sale day. It adds a new dimension to the word patience. When you see a fellow breeder fighting a tough day, give them a call or a text, he or she will appreciate the good thoughts.
Even with the weather demands, sales have been optimistic and come with a few observations. It is obvious buyers that desire Limousin genetics want a bull that is stout, growthy and loaded with performance. They like a bull that has some convenience traits, smooth polled, tolerable calving-ease and birth weight, but they will give more for a bull that has lots of body, thickness and natural growth. In our travels, we see equal demand for Limousin and Lim-Flex genetics and equal demand for black and red bulls. Work with your customers to fine tune your offering. It is important that bulls not only have good performance EPDs and figures, they must also look stout and solid. High flanked, lean bulls that are lacking bone are very hard to sell.
It is also evident there is a lot of competition in the bull market, not only within the Limousin breed, but within the beef industry. And that competition starts not on sale day, but increasingly on a day about a month in advance of the that—picture and video day. Long gone are the days you can run pictures of the bull’s sire or advertise two or three of the top bulls. Innovation and technology have made it possible to video every bull and broadcast those to the buying public ahead of the sale. Having the bulls ready to video, and making sure you get good videos, is now more important than how the bulls look sale day.
Progressive bull sellers are competitive, and it is apparent some work harder at connecting with their customers and attracting new customers than others. Information, videos and personal connection drives the bull business. Offering a product with two testicles and no background or documentation is not a recipe to gain market share. There are lots of bulls yet to sell this spring and now is the time to prepare for the future. Are you taking advantage of all the industry offers or are you just hoping that someone will come up the driveway? Take control of your program, raising AND selling are both part of a successful seedstock operation.
We’ll see you down the road.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR
Mark A Smith