Prelisting Calves

Most people have got used to the idea of prelisting or prebooking their calves for the big presorted sales. This is good business for both the sale yard and the consignor. We can make appropriate arrangements for crew, bedding, feeding, etc. We can do some premarketing with the order buyers, and they in turn can do some premarketing of their own. Even the local buyers like to know in advance what we expect in for the sale. This all means stronger orders on your calves.

Prebooking sure helps us to avoid over booking. There is a limit to how many cattle we can sort effectively on any given day. This all works fine when everyone cooperates and most do. But there is a bit of a problem with a few that we would like to get a handle on. Some people list their cattle, then do not show up. Or they list 100 head and show up with 50 head. The problem this creates is if we were fully booked we will have told other people that we were full and not able to handle their cattle at that sale. Then, when all the cattle booked do not show up we may end up with 3500 head instead of 4000. We could have handled the other cattle that were turned away.

Not a very fair situation for those other consignors who could have had their cattle in. Not very fair for us either, but that is not going to choke anybody up. All we ask is that if you have a change in plans, just pick up the phone and let us know as soon as you know. It helps us plan our sale, and it certainly helps your fellow cattle producers.

We understand quite well that people have very legitimate reasons for waiting until a later date to sell, or keeping more at home than originally planned, etc.. Just let us know.

One fellow listed 150 head with us. He phoned us the day he was to bring them in and cancelled out, which was nice of him. We found out that he had sold his cattle a week earlier somewhere else. That is fine. That is his business and his choice, but why couldn’t he have phoned us a week earlier, too? We could have accepted another 3 consignors with 50 head each, for example. It would have been a win-win situation for him, us and 3 other people.

So now what do we do if he lists again this year? Should we take him seriously? Should we ask for a deposit? Should we write him down, and if the sale fills phone him and say we don’t have room anymore? Or should we just write him down, and if the sale fills, let his cattle show up and then tell him ” Oh gosh, we don’t have room for you anymore. We didn’t believe that you would show up so we just kept listing cattle. Turn your trucks around and take them home.”

Now of course we are not going to be that nasty, but don’t think that the temptation isn’t there. And don’t think he doesn’t deserve it. Several other examples of this also come to mind, but I think I’ve made my point. Please help us run a more efficient operation. All we ask is that you let us know as soon as possible if you have a change of plans.

Thanks for your cooperation.

The next question: How soon should we list our cattle? There is no set time. Some sales fill up sooner than others do. Some never do reach capacity, but in the fall most do. I would say that as soon as you have decided when to move your cattle you should phone. Waiting until the last minute could be too late for the sale of your choice.

Roy Rutledge

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