Tim Hearden/Capital Press
RED BLUFF, Calif. — Escalating cattle prices pushed receipts at the annual bull sale here above the $1 million mark again this year, even with fewer bulls on the auction block.
Winning bids for the 318 bulls that sauntered through the Don Smith Pavilion totaled $1.038 million — an average of $3,264 per lot. The per-bull average topped last year’s $3,237, when 378 bulls generated more than $1.2 million in total sales.
This was the fourth straight year the bull sale tipped the $1 million mark. The top seller was Turlock, Calif.-based Cardey Ranches’ champion range-ready Angus bull, which went for $8,700 to Shufelberger Ranch in Redding, Calif.
“The bulls were slightly higher than last year, which was sort of a shock because there were fewer bulls,” sale manager Adam Owens said.
The bull market capped five days of showcases and auctions at the 73rd annual Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale at the Tehama District Fair grounds. The bidding began with the sixth annual online feeder and replacement heifer sale on Jan. 30, whose more than 150 lots were about three times as many as last year’s.
Like many other ranchers, Steve Hall of Winnemucca, Nev., said the drought has prompted him to sell more of his cattle.
“Hay’s getting short, so I’ve got to get them gone,” he said as he waited for his lots to come up. “We had some snow earlier, then it turned below zero, so it wasn’t like we got anything.”
Lots in the online sale went for as much as $275 per hundredweight for weaned steers and $266 per hundredweight for weaned heifers, trampling last year’s high prices per hundredweight of $199 and $172, respectively.
Geldings and mules auctioned off Jan. 31 generated $488,300 in combined sales, falling short of last year’s $553,200 in combined receipts. The top seller was Fresno, Calif., resident Nancy W. Tingey’s 6-year-old buckskin Yellow Texas Star, which went to 3 String Cattle Co., in Wallsburg, Utah for $28,500.
“That’s a pretty significant sale,” Owens said, adding it’ll enhance the Red Bluff auction’s reputation. “It’s not the highest ever, but it’s really close.”
The Jan. 31 sale of 20 working cattle dogs brought $66,900. The top seller was Red Bluff breeder Merle Newton’s border collie Rex, who sold to Steve Robinson of Columbia, Md., for $10,200.
It’s not the first time someone from back East has come to Red Bluff to buy a dog, Owens said.
“We’ve sold several dogs to New York and Tennessee” buyers, he said. “We’ve always had interest from across the country.”
Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale: http://www.redbluffbullsale.com