CALGARY – Given the nature of his business, Doug Finseth is inclined to take the long view. And as he gazes ahead, he likes what he sees.
As president of the Alberta Cattle Breeders Association, Finseth is a point man for the 113th annual Calgary Bull Sale, the oldest continuous consignment bull sale on the planet, which will be held on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7 at Stampede Park.
Last year, the Calgary Bull Sale — a barometer for the Canadian cattle industry — saw a dramatic jump in both average and total sales. And Finseth feels the livestock business in Canada is “on the verge of taking off.”
“These are exciting times in the seedstock industry. We’re quite excited to be a part of it,” says Finseth. “All the regional bull sales that have gone on this spring, so far in February, have been fairly steady to slightly higher (compared to last year’s results).
“Livestock production is a long-term investment. The stock that producers select today . . . that impact will be felt down the road two or three years,” adds Finseth. “And we’re also seeing a lot more of our younger generation taking agriculture programs at colleges and universities, with the intent of coming home and taking over the ranch. Eight, nine, 10 years ago, that just wasn’t happening as much.
“There’s a sense now that there’s money to be made in agriculture again.”
In spite of last fall’s XL Foods beef recall, market prices for calves and fat cattle have stabilized and essentially held their ground since last spring. Canada’s cattle and calf herd fell to 13.5 million in 2012, according to Statistics Canada, but had the slowest rate of decline in seven years.
Finseth also points out that Canadian cattle genetics are among the world’s finest — capitalizing on consumer demands and trends, and improving marketplace return for producers.
Unsurpassed in reputation and longevity, the Calgary Bull Sale sets the bar for the rest of the bull-buying season, as it has for decades. Steeped in tradition and boasting world-renowned genetics, the Calgary Bull Sale sees consignors offer the top bulls from Hereford, Angus, and other breeds to commercial ranchers or fellow purebred producers across North America.
“We’re in a world marketplace now,” says Finseth. “A few years ago, our marketplace was within 500 miles of home. It’s gone from Canadian, to North American, to worldwide. What happens on the other side of the globe has an impact on us now.
“Multinational companies are marketing our beef throughout the world. Countries are opening their doors, and trade barriers are coming down,” he adds. “Everyone wants their protein, and there isn’t such a large cattle population anymore. That’s one of the reasons I think this industry is going to take off.”
For the second year, the Calgary Bull Sale will also be holding a Commercial Replacement Heifer Pen Show and Sale, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, as an acknowledgement of the eventual rebound and growth of the Canadian herd. “There’s a definite demand for high-grade replacement heifers,” says Finseth. “In two or three years, replacement females are going to be a very hot commodity.”
The show portion of the 2013 Calgary Bull Sale will begin on Wednesday, March 6 in the Victoria Pavilion — as Angus lots go on display at 11 a.m., and the Herefords take centre stage at 1 p.m. The replacement heifers show and sale will be held immediately after the Hereford show, at about 6 p.m., in the North Barn of the Agriculture Building.
Ranch horse demonstrations will be held on Thursday, March 7 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the North Barn. And from there, the action begins in earnest as the gavel starts falling in the Pavilion — beginning with the Angus sale at 11 a.m., and followed from there by the Gelbvieh and Hereford breeds. Proceedings will wind up with the sale of ranch horses at about 6 p.m. in the Pavilion.
Once again, potential buyers can watch, listen, and bid online through Direct Livestock Marketing Systems (www.dlms.ca). Potential buyers should contact Mark Shologan in advance via telephone at 780.699.5082 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Sale specimens can also be viewed on the Calgary Bull Sale’s website. For a lot-by-lot catalogue, a complete list of consignors, and more, visit calgarybullsale.com
Yearling bulls will be ribeye, marble and backfat scanned and published, while two-year-old bulls will be backfat scanned and published.
A free shuttle service will run to and from the Best Western Plus Calgary Centre Inn and the Holiday Inn Macleod Trail on March 6 and 7, with shuttle times posted at both hotels and the Calgary Bull Sale’s show office.
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