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  • Miranda Reiman, senior associate editor

Angus Fall Sale Season Shows Strong Demand

During the first two months of the new fiscal year, Angus bull and female sales are showing strength in year-over-year comparisons, says Brett Spader, president Angus Media.

So far in the year that started Oct. 1, there are 10% more females in the market, and yet prices are up an average of more than $1,500. Bull sale data shows an increase as well.

“We weren't sure exactly how everything would pan out, of course in Montana and some of the northern states we get a run of bull sales here late in the fall,” Spader says, noting their ongoing drought and dire forage situation. “I think everyone was holding their breath, but it was just fantastic to see a great and tremendous demand from genetics all the way through the fall.”

Get the full recap by listening to the interview with Spader or read the transcript below.

MIRAND REIMAN: Today I’ve got Brett Spader on the line. Brett is the president of Angus Media and has a good vantage point of the fall sale season that’s happened. So, Brett, we’ve been kind of in full swing here. Why don’t you just give me a little bit of an overview of what’s been happening out there in the country and what you’ve been hearing in the field.

BRETT SPADER: A lot of what I'm going to share with you is, is funneled with us from our 13 regional managers, which we're so fortunate to have with the American Angus Association and Angus Media. These guys travel the road. They're really an essential part of seedstock marketing for the Angus breed, and of course they're there as the boots on the round when it comes to that seedstock marketing, and they’re there as a resource for buyers and sellers. And so we keep in close contact with them in terms of those of us in the office, and it's great that see these patterns and trends as they emerge. And of course, those RMs are there to work with breeders in every form and fashion when it comes to creating ultimate success for their Angus breeding operation.

It's been really an interesting fall, you know. I think we all went into it cautiously optimistic about where the demand Angus genetics would be just in terms of the great value that they offer the beef industry, the great value that they offer commercial cattlemen from coast to coast. Of course we knew there were some huge challenges out there as well. We had these drought-stricken areas, which were really creating a lot of concern — and still do — as we see great members and great cow-calf producers in those states, you know they're absolutely up against the wall in a lot of ways. And so we weren't sure exactly how everything would pan. Of course in Montana and some of the northern states, we get a run of bull sales here late in the fall. And again, I think everyone was holding their breath, but it was just fantastic to see a great and tremendous demand from genetics all the way through the fall.

You know, when we think about our fall sales season for seedstock genetics we tend to kick that off in late August and early September and truly run all the way here through mid-December with a lot of those fall bull sales up north. And it's really been an interesting study and watch that and talk to the RMs and talk to breeders and see just the great value that those in the commercial segment especially have been placing to incorporate into their herd.

REIMAN: So I'm hearing in that response that there's been a lot of strengths, a lot of optimism in the market. What does that really mean in terms of numbers?

SPADER: Yeah, and we track these numbers, you know. It is another aspect that the regional managers do for us. They work the ring at these sales and they keep tabs on the number of head sold, as well as the averages, including the high sellers. You can find this information on in the sale reports page. It's actually one of the most highly trafficked parts of our website. We know this about producers: they want to do their research and they know that's a very important part of their profitability picture in terms of the genetics they select. And so they do like to go study that sale reports page, but we were so excited to see that the demand for females was really pretty remarkable. I'm going give you some numbers here basically from the start of our fiscal year, which began on October 1st, but I think it encapsulates that fall sales season spirit pretty well. But we saw the incredible demand increase $1,500, $1,523, in terms of the average price paid for registered Angus female.

And so that was an increase of a proportion that we weren't necessarily even expecting. We were so glad to see that out in the marketplace. We actually sold 10% more registered females than previous years as well. So we are so excited to see that's a great value for those in the registered business or thinking about growing, thinking about expanding. And if they put those cattle out in the marketplace, they're getting rewarded with that. Of course, when we think about the beef industry, you know, we think about the backbone of that, which is the cow-calf producer, which ultimately creates the beef that comes through the segment and becomes Certified Angus Beef. And so as we thought about the genetics that they invested in, we saw an increase of 5% in what they gave over above last year, which we thought was an excellent year.

And that also included about a 10% increase in the number of registered Angus bulls offered. Again year to date. So we weren't necessarily expecting that much in significant growth marketplace. Of course we want to see our producers be as successful as possible and get a great reward for the incredible work and forethought that they put in creating any genetics. So it was great to see.

REIMAN: I think there could be some surprise in some those numbers just given the kind of year some people have had in different areas. Do you have any insights into why the strength of those numbers?

SPADER: I think the Angus breed really aligns with where we continue to go in the beef industry. That's very exciting. I think when you look at other breed comparisons in terms of what we're getting done and the strength in the marketplace, I think one can draw that conclusion very well, whether it's aspects, of carcass quality, certainly aspects of production value, things that make our cow-calf producers’ lives more profitable, more simple, solve their problems.

I think that's such an important part and the mantle that a lot of Angus breeders has taken up and they're getting rewarded for that. I think again, you know, in the Northern states, we were expecting to see a pretty tough run. And one of the things I thought was really interesting as I talked to Kurt Kangus, the regional manager in that territory, he said, you know, of course, a lot of cattle left that country. A lot of commercial cattle left that country. And what they found was a lot of people really appreciated those cattle through fall and they came back and they sourced bulls from the genetics that had created those commercial cattle. So as we saw some of those cattle going to New Mexico and Texas actually came back to Montana to buy that genetic package. And again, I think that's a true testament to the breeding programs that produce the genetics that go into that as well as a great opportunity for them to continue to incorporate new genetics into those operations and other parts of the world. So I was very pleased to see the great success that they had. We know we're not out of the woods yet. That's a really a tough environment up there right now, but again, we've had great growing seasons in other parts of the United States. And it just always reminds us that there's a set of Angus cows and a set of Angus genetics that are going to work well in a lot of different varieties of circumstances there.

REIMAN: Absolutely. And of course we’ll be hoping for some rain up in those parts but definitely glad to hear that those cattle have worked for people in a variety of environments. So, Brett, as we look forward, do you have any crystal ball type predictions?

SPADER: Try not to issue any predictions this, especially this early. We always make a lot of plans as we think about positioning those breeding operations, and we think about how they best can reach out to their potential customers. And so that's a great challenge and a great benefit of what we do here at Angus Media and certainly the Angus Association. I can say this. I think we're more committed to seedstock producers in the Angus breed than ever before and the health and wellbeing of our customers. And I feel better all the time in terms of the Association tools that are there to create success, whether that's EPDs and the power the Angus database, which again just continues to grow by leaps and bounds and add that risk mitigation and that certainty. When we make those big genetic purchases, that's a really important part of the trust that people put in us and we’re sure are very excited to see people continue to respond well to that. And then again, we think about the programs that are available to get that, that value back out of those operations that make those investments. And so I think as we continue to head down that track, you know, I can't say we'll always get exactly what we need to for our cattle, but I promise you that when we take that really proactive approach and we continue to create genetics, which make our customers’ lives better, we're going to be on the right side of things more often than not. So I'm excited to be a part of that with the Angus membership and excited to help in some small way.

Editor's note: For those looking to getting a jump on their spring marketing or has questions, feel free to contact your regional manager or call 816-383-5100.

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