Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

How does the presort cattle sales work?

After the cattle are unloaded at our yards, your cattle are weighed and presorted as soon as possible -- no over night stand. Presort cattle will be weighed with a 3%, 2%, 1% pencil shrink depending on the mileage. After the animals are weighed they are sent into the ring where it is determined from their weight, quality, conformation, frame, hair coat and color as to what package they will be put into. They then go straight to a feed and water pen, where in that pen is all the same class of cattle. You will get a printout after your animals are presorted, which has the weights and packages your cattle are in. On sale day, that uniform pen of cattle is sold together as a package.

Do we guarantee prices?

We totally understand why you would want to know exactly what you'd be getting for those calves, before they leave your yard. In a sense we do guarantee. We guarantee that we will get you the highest market price for your cattle. We provide the environment for your cattle to be exposed to the big buyers in the best possible condition. Our buyers have orders for your animals from across Canada and the United States, and through competitive bidding they determine the price for your cattle. Guaranteed prices on the farm, guarantees that you will not make the extra buck that competitive bidding brings.

Why should you book your livestock before a sale?

Simple. The more we know about your product, the better we can sell it for you.

  • * The big order buyers ask us what kind of numbers and general information on the animals that are booked before a presort, so that they can get their orders ready.
  • * You may only have 10 head to sell -- doesn't matter -- let us know ahead of time. 100 farmers with 10 head = 1000 head of cattle, it sure adds up! We need your cooperation. It is impossible to weigh and sort thousands of cattle in a few hours, obviously some cattle have to get here earlier.
  • * For the producer who has 10 - 30, the earlier you get the cattle here the chances of your cattle being weighed is higher. This means less time your cattle are standing and waiting, the more they will weigh when they hit the scale, which is more money in your pocket.
  • * In the mornings before 11:00 am we are usually waiting for cattle. After 1:00 pm the semi loads have priority. Cattle liners loads are generally hauled further. The consigner can not control the time the semi trucker will get to his farm due to previous load commitments, so he should not wait to have his cattle weighed.
  • * If you have horses or bred cows -- let us know as much information ahead of sale time.
  • * Information allows us to advertise by paper, radio and word of mouth. People are always calling here inquiring about what is coming to the next sale, if we don't know neither will they. Kelvington's sales reps, who are in the yards of potential buyers, will advertise for you as well.

When are my calves weighed?

This is a very smart inquiry. Instead of an over-night (and usually longer) stand, your cattle are weighed as soon as possible after they are unloaded at our market. This means the weight that you will be paid for, is determined within a few hours of leaving your farm.

Are they put on feed and water?

Yes! As soon as they are presorted, our riders take them to bedded pens, which have hay and water.

How can there be blacks, reds and tans in the same package?

The frame, conformation, hair coat, as well as colour determines which package that animal is placed in. For example, when you cross a Black x Saler, you will have a black calf that will neither fit into the Black class, or the Saler class -- a crossbred. Herford x Limo will produce a red crossbred calf, that is neither British or full Limo looking. A Black x Charlais will give a crossbred Silver calf. Simmental x Herford will produce a tan white face crossbred calf. We can not put these crossbred calves into other packages, because they simply do not belong there. Crossbred packages are desired by feedlots and consistently bring top dollar.

How many buyers do we get?

We consistently get 6 - 9 powerful order buyers every sale. We also have a lot of local farmer and smaller feedlot operators purchasing large amounts of cattle. This all means more competition for your cattle.

Do we have satellite sales?

No. Since we do not have a satellite sale, and satellites are rented by the hour, we do not have to squish our sale into two hours. This allows us to be stricter on our sorts. Meaning no second cut cattle get into the top packages. This is better for all sellers and all buyers. There is also very little action from satellite buyers.

How long are presort sales?

We sell thousands of cattle within a few hours. Our sales start Thursday @ 10:00 am, and we can sell over 2,500 head in a few hours. This short time frame keeps the attention of our buyers.

Why do buyers pick an animal out of a package at a presort?

When a buyer is not pleased with a certain animal in a package, it is better for all the sellers when that animal is taken out. Then the whole package price is not brought down. Usually that animal is either injured or does not quite have the growing potential as the rest of the package. Contrary to some peoples beliefs we are not super humans, we make the odd mistake!!

Why do they "steal" frozen ears and tails?

Since these animals were exposed to severely cold temperatures, their feet and lungs may have been damaged as well. Therefore the buyers can not risk buying an animal for feedlots that may turn up chronically ill.

What is the deduction for horns?

Deductions under the Horned Cattle Purchases Act is $2.00 per horned animal. This penalty is to encourage the dehorning of livestock. The money collected goes to the Horned Cattle Fund and is used for Research and Development in the cattle industry. Over the past ten years more than $2.4 million has been collected.

Why is a good hair coat on cattle desired?

Calves are supposed to eat, sleep, and put on meat. Not one feedlot out there wants feeders standing around shivering, which is lost time, lost pounds and lost money. Ontario buyers are fanatic about this, due to their rainy windy weather.

Cut the hide and the head of my calf and it will grade just as good as the next calf, which brought a few cents higher! Why?

Right or wrong, Appearance sells, even in the cattle world. Order Buyers have to consistently ship good looking, clean, pleasing to the eye product to their buyers. Some of their buyers do not want an ugly buffalo headed calf in with their cut steers, even if they can buy him for a few cents less, for he would bring down the looks of the whole package.

Our Job vs Your Job!

Your Job - Quality bloodlines, castrate, dehorn, good nutrition, and healthy animals.
Our Job - Sorting strictly and properly. We put the cattle into correct sorts, making the packages as uniform even as possible.

Weighing your calves as soon as possible when they are delivered. This means less shrink on your calves. Less shrink means more pounds that you will be directly paid for.

Filling the front row with large, powerful order buyers is also our responsibility. These guys are not satisfied, simply their time is too valuable, to buy one animal at at time. They want the convenience of buying groups of uniform cattle all of the same style. We get these guys, you get the top market price.

Why steers that are cut or pinched late bring a lower price?

I cut/pinch my calves, they are not stags! You may not think so, but absolutely everybody else in the cattle industry does.

If bull calves have been cut or pinched after a few months of age, their testosterone levels have been running high for too long. They will retain a bullish look to them, which is thicker necks, buggy eyes, hairy sheaths, square heads, etc.

Late cut steers ride more, fight more, are cark cutters, and take longer to finish. It is also hard for feedlots to find U.S. slaughter plants that will even accept them. Feedlots will not have late calves mixed with regular steers, so we have to sort accordingly.

Remember - Top $$ Dollar is spent on Top Products!

Our hard work and long hours presorting pays off in the long run for the buyers. Here is why...

We fax every buyer as soon as we are finished presorting, so they know exactly how many head of each class of cattle is at the sale before they leave their homes. This allows them to line up more potential orders for your cattle. Compare this to any regular sale, where the buyers have no idea as to how many head, or the quality of cattle at the sale.

At regular sales the animals are weighed right before they go into the ring, so the longer the sale, the longer you wait for the cattle to be finally weighed - more shrink. Here you are paid for delivery weight. At regular sales, animals are sold one at a time making for a very long day - where at our presorts we can sell thousands of cattle in a few hours.

The reason why you can bring your cattle in to presorts the day before the sale...

The final meat product of the short and fat style of cattle is super, it's how much fat to meat ratio that animal put on is the point of discussion. We simply cannot put the short and fat cattle in with the growing, lean, green cattle being the short and fat style of cattle are going to finish faster. They simply so not have the frame to put on as many pounds.

Feedlots want to buy raw products where they can put the pounds on fast and efficiently. When short and fat cattle are brought, they are paying for animals which are close to being finished, the potential profit is lower. The owner of short animals are getting paid for the pound son that animal, not for the potential gain for the animal.

These calves after a certain point are putting fat on not meat, and too much fat brings a discount. It's the meat that brings the money home. It costs feedlots the same amount of money to finish and haul calves with finish weight of 1000 as one who finishes at 1400 lbs. The final product at the packing plant is less for short and fat animals, so the price in the ring is less as well.

How much longer are these GREAT cattle prices going to stick around?

If we had a crystal ball to tell you this, we would be pretty popular!

Inputs have increased dramatically - 20 years ago it took about 10-15 steers to buy a baler, now it takes 30 steers at a good price to buy one. With the price of every input increasing, like fuel, fertilizer, natural gas, parts, land, etc. these cattle prices do not seem so high anymore!

When we have a larger number at our presort sales, do our buyers fill their orders up and stop bidding?

No! The exact opposite takes place. The more we can sell at our sales, the happier the BIG order buyers are. They already have the orders, they just need the cattle.

When we sold close to 3,500 head of cattle at one sale the prices definitely were not affected, as it was one of the highest sale prices ever recorded! Small order buyers have enough money to fill a few semis, then they have to quit buying. Our buyers would fill a hundred semis if we could get the cattle for them!

What are buyers looking for in feeder cattle?

The simplest explanation of what buyers want in feeder cattle is hair, depth, conformation, frame, quality and speed finish (not too fast and not too long). Specific breeds do not necessarily bring the highest dollar. What consistently brings the highest dollar is - top beef producing cattle.

Are you mad at us?

Let us know, if we do not know about your problem how can we begin to fix it? Human error or a slight oversight can happen. We will try to explain and correct any situation that comes to our attention.

Where do most of the cattle go to after the sale?

Most of the feeders go to feedlots in Saskatchewan, Alberta and the U.S. as well as Ontario and Quebec immediately after our presort sales or the next morning. Since the animals here have been on good feed and water they are able to ship animals long distances with less risk of sickness.

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