Good quality oats brings top price. The kind that has already been through the horse comes much cheaper.
Occasionally producers think that we should drop our selling fees. In 1986 we charged twelve dollars per head to sell calves. Now we charge fifteen or sixteen dollars. That is about a twenty-five percent increase in eighteen years. Wages (our biggest expense) have almost doubled in that same time period. Trucks, fuel, skid steers, lumber, pipe, advertising, power and stuff like that costs about twice as much too. The only reason selling charges haven’t doubled is because our volume has increased too and as long as we can maintain our volume we can hold our rates to a minimum.
Some think we charge too much. Our margins are already slimmer than Ally Mc Beal. I don’t know where to cut costs anymore than I have already and still offer the best service around. I am open to suggestions though.
We have some very knowledgeable people on staff, but they tend to charge us more than those with little expertise. We are open year around while some of the cut rate sale yards are only open at peak periods. We have always lost money in May, June, July, August, September and most Januarys. We have always stayed open to provide service in those months. Some others close in most of those months to cut their costs. Should we?
Here is something to think about though. What if another yard offered to cut the rates by five dollars per head? It sounds tempting to go there doesn’t it. Here is the “rest of the story”.
If the calves bring the same price as Assiniboia or Weyburn it would be a good deal.
However, if five hundred pound calves average even one cent per pound less you have gained nothing. If they average two cents less you lose five dollars per head by trying to save five dollars. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
We have found that by having the best of personnel, facilities, feed, advertising, and industry contacts results in better prices for your calves. We have more depth in the cattle business than most. This all results in more money in your pocket. Isn’t that what it is all about? Your net cheque.