Skip to content

Swan River cattle producer opts for newer bull marketing option

A more recent sale option is an ‘online farm-gate sale’.
Robyn Tibble working with Showchampions international photographer Maureen Tubman Durin during picture and video day back in early February.

YORKTON - How cattle producers market bulls has changed over the years.

There was a time producers waited for perspective buyers to come to the farm to look over their bulls.

Then bull sales developed with various producers gathering their bulls in a central location and putting their sale in the hands of an auctioneer.

It was natural some would decide to hold their own ‘production’ sales, often on farm, the bulls walked into a ring as bids were taken.

Today a bull rarely walks into a ring, a video screen showing the animal being sold, leaving the animals in familiar pens with less stress.

While of the above ‘sale systems’ remain, a more recent option is an ‘online farm-gate sale’.

Swan Hills Ranch at Swan River, Man. has been offering their bulls via a timed auction for a few years now.

“We first started three years ago,” said Scott Tibble with Swan Hills.

The system allows online video viewing of the bulls on offer, and each animal is offered in an online auction for a specified period of time. For this year’s sale bids are taken from March 28 to 30.

While still a new method of bull sale, Tibble said there is growing interest in the method.

“There’s about 50 sales across Canada doing this,” he said.

Like all on-farm sales, one of the big advantages is reducing stress on the bulls.

“The bulls stay on the farm,” he said, so the environment and ration all stay constant until the bull is either picked up by the buyer post sale, or delivery is arranged.

Although the sale is open for bids for three days, Tibble admitted most of the ‘action’ happens near the end.

“There’s been active bidding on our cattle, but it gets really active the last half hour,” he said. “It’s worked out quite well.”

While there are still costs associated with the sale, Swan Hills Ranch hosts a sort of open houses to view the bulls, and videos are made and a sale catalogue too, Tibble notes there are savings too. There is no auctioneer, or ring men as examples.

“Our costs are trimmed back,” he said.