There’s little doubt that Superior Livestock Auctions, with offices in Brush, Colorado, and Fort Worth, Texas, is king when it comes to selling cattle. Cattlemen across the country turn to Superior to market their cattle because volume doesn’t lie.
Jason Barber, a son of Texas’ Barber Ranch, has been with Superior Livestock for 10 years and remembers the days of broadcasting sales on television during which buyers could call into a phone bank to place their bids. From there, Superior introduced a Click to Bid system that allows buyers to bid online.
“The Click to Bid system is how a large percentage of our feeder cattle are sold,” Barber said. “It has grown in popularity especially as internet has improved in rural areas.”
Superior is the country’s largest livestock merchandiser and they sell three times more cattle annually than their next largest competitor. Superior offers nearly 200 production sales annually, most of which use the online bidding platform, as do the female and bull sales with which Superior has become synonymous. To best serve customers in rural areas who still face bandwidth issues or simply prefer phone bids, they remain a simple and convenient option as well.
As TV programming moves toward internet programming, such as On Demand or Over the Top channels, Superior continues to broadcast on channels accessible to rural Americans while preparing to stay in step with potential moves to internet-based programming.
To make Superior Livestock truly accessible day or night, the company introduced the Country Page. It is a private treaty listing of load lots of cattle that are listed as they are on video sales. There is an asking price that buyers can bid for an immediate sale or they can bid under the asking price and the representatives will work with the buyer and seller to get the cattle sold. Over 100,000 head of cattle were sold last year on the Country Page, proving its value to buyers and sellers alike.
Superior has also launched a Fed Cattle Exchange that is an internet based auction platform developed with academia, industry leaders, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Livestock Marketing Association, and others. Cattle sold on the Exchange will be reported by the USDA beginning October 5, 2016.
“It’s designed so the price for fed cattle and live cattle are selling for,” he said. “In the past, only about 10 percent of the prices were reported through the USDA. This offers more transparency in where the market is.”
All of the major packers are buying cattle through the Fed Cattle Exchange. Barber anticipates a future place for other buyers as well as cattle sold at a premium through the Exchange.
“Prices are tough right now in the cattle industry,” he said. “Some people are realizing they’re going to have to go above and beyond with their marketing and they’re willing to pay a premium for a better product and a better service.”
Superior sells 1.2 million head of yearling cattle and calves annually and sellers look to Superior for their expertise in marketing cattle, be it bulls, feeder cattle, bred cattle or the like. One value added program available offers load lots of calves sired by bulls from proven seed stock producers. The premium on calves marketed through that program last year was $3.26/cwt leaving no doubt in the value to cow calf producers willing to buy bulls from these producers.
The feeder cattle sales are comprised of loads of cattle weighing 50,000 pounds and the Country Page offers a market for load lots and smaller loads of cattle, sometimes from smaller producers. There is a minimum for producers hoping to host a bull sale through Superior that may price out small producers but the benefits to the producers who find Superior to be a good fit for their marketing are significant. These avenues collectively offer options to producers of all sizes across the country.
Jason Barber, Courtesy of Superior Livestock
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