Half of the battle while attempting to market cattle for a premium is bringing the buyers to the cattle. Breeders World Online Sales is making the bid easier.
Breeders World, said Travis Stenberg, is one of the pioneers of online cattle sales with buyers and sellers across the United States and overseas. Breeders World began with Stenberg and auctioneer Rodger Hunker in the days prior to social media. The partners knew there was a place for online sales and worked hard to convince people. They now host over 600 sales per year and have representatives across the country.
While the club calf sales remain Breeders World’s bread and butter, they are hosting more bred cattle sales as of late. These sales make up only a small percentage of the total sales, but their success is real. It also speaks to the diversification of the modern cattleman.
“While these breeders and buyers deal primarily in club calves, they’re probably also raising a commercial herd,” Stenberg said. After all, it’s been said they can’t all be show cattle.
As opposed to the show cattle sales that offer cattle lot by lot, the commercial sales have offered groups of cattle and have been successfully tapping into two buyer bases.
Part of the beauty of online sales, Stenberg said, is the number of cattle a buyer can choose from. It’s far higher than the number a buyer could choose from at their local sale barn or even in their immediate region.
“Buyers get to see a lot of cattle online,” he said. “Even if you don’t buy them, it’s a chance to compare them to the cattle you are purchasing. You may find a load of heifers that are the same price as what you’ve been buying but they’re higher quality. It opens doors that aren’t open when you’re only buying locally.”
Buying from internet-based sales also presents the opportunity to purchase cattle that will introduce new genetics to your herd, bringing with it the advantages of improved genetic lines. One of the obvious advantages of online sales to sellers is the large circle of buyers. Another advantage Stenberg said online buyers enjoy is building clientele.
“If they buy a load of cattle from you and they like them, they’re going to buy from you again,” he said.
The sellers who have consistently marketed cattle online see many of the same buyers return again and again. Gabel Farms in Wiggins, Colorado, composed of Jim and Shelly Gabel and their eldest son, Eric, were one of the first to offer show cattle through Breeders World. Over the course of the past decade or so of online sales, the cattle and prices have changed but the relationships they’ve forged with buyers and with Stenberg remain steady.
“The nationwide exposure is great,” Eric Gabel said. “It’s also allowed me to maintain my local cattle buyers, which is important. It gives the cattle more exposure and has allowed me to raise cattle that will be acceptable to different and broader markets.” The Gabels raise a number of fall calves that are entirely shipped out of their region to areas where fall cattle are heavily exhibited. It opens doors to them to sell more cattle and adds to the number of high quality cattle being exhibited at different ages and stages across the country.
While local buyers are the backbone of the Gabel’s business, they find online marketing is ideal for individual cattle that benefit from the additional exposure and are sold out of the area to exhibitors who show nationally.
That clientele base, Stenberg says, is especially important to the producers who sell, for example, both bred heifers and bulls. The mutual benefit to buyers is also strong to have the opportunity to purchase from someone they share a history with and can continue to cultivate a relationship.
“We want to keep these buyers happy and make sure they come back to your sale every year,” he said. “There might be 100 sales going on, but if you took care of them, they’re going to bypass other sales to come to yours.”
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