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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

The Cattle Business - Neighbors Working Together

Livestock Update, January 2001

Bill R. McKinnon, Extension Animal Scientist, Marketing, Virginia Tech

Virginia beef producers are used to working together to better market their feeder cattle. Our extensive system of association sponsored, commingled, graded feeder cattle sales is ample evidence of how Virginia cattle folks have worked together for the last 65 years.

In recent years, a few local groups have realized the market clout they could have by putting together trailer load lots of feeder cattle in the field and offering them for sale. The telo-auction feeder sales have given these groups an avenue through which to effectively market their commingled load lots.

Feeder cattle producers in the Amelia and Buckingham county areas have a long and successful history of effectively marketing their cattle. Currently, producers in those areas wishing to market their cattle with their neighbors do so through either the Amelia County Cattlemen's Association or the Buckingham Cattlemen's Association. Both associations utilize the Virginia Quality Assured feeder cattle program to certify the health history of their cattle. Additionally, most of the cattle are also sired by superior bulls and wear the VQA purple ear tag.

In recent years, the Amelia group markets load lots of similar feeder cattle during several times of the year. During 2000, the Amelia Cattlemen's Association offered feeder cattle during February, March, July, August, and October. Several producers target their production schedule to coincide with association marketing opportunities. A summary of their relative success during 2000 is presented in the table below.

Table 1.

Amelia Cattlemen's Association Sales Compared
to Other Marketing Options
Steers +/-
Local weekly mkt.
645 hd.   
696 lb. $/cwt
448 hd.   
628 lb.$/cwt

The Buckingham Cattlemen's Association has targeted their annual marketing effort toward one date in early August each year. The group's members have also made widespread use of artificial insemination to one or two bulls each year. This results in load lots offered in the following year's sale in which many of the calves are sired by the same bull. On August 1, 2000 the association sold 1084 head of feeders in 15 lots from 20 different producers. Table 2 presents the association's relative marketing success during the last four years.

Table 2.

BuckinghamVQA Feeder Cattle Sales
Graded Special Sales (LM1)
$/Cwt. Price Advantage
  1997 1998 1999 2000 4 yr Average
5-wt.+ $8.40+ $6.53 + $1.98 + $7.63 + $6.14
6-wt. + $7.10 + $5.36 + $1.17 + $4.19 + $4.46
7-wt. + $5.59 + $4.56 + $2.86 + $3.71 + $4.18
5-wt.+ $1.80 + $0.44 + $1.72 + $5.95 + $2.48
6-wt. + $4.88 + $0.46 + $3.04 + $5.23 + $3.40

Both of these associations provide excellent examples of how local cattle folks can work together to have marketing clout.

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