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Owners of one of the largest registered Simmental herds in Canada announce upcoming retirement

R-Plus Simmentals holds a successful final bull sale
Marlin leBlanc pic
This bull was lot No. 1 at the final spring bull sale for R Plus Simmentals, which is located west of Estevan.

ESTEVAN - The final spring bull sale for R Plus Simmentals proved to be the best yet. 

The sale was held on March 7 at the R Plus ranch west of Estevan. Marlin LeBlanc, who operates the ranch with his wife Lucille, said the highest-selling bull brought in $160,000, and another bull attracted $82,000. One female generated $43,000. 

The sale average exceeded $10,000 on over 100 lots. 

“We’ve had some success, lately, in the last few years, and we feel that our cow herd’s as strong as it’s ever been, and it’s time to share it with other people,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc didn’t decide that this would be the final sale until the day that it happened. And when he told his wife that it was time to sell and end a tradition that lasted nearly 30 years, she was likely more surprised than anybody. 

“When the sale’s over, I go right back calving cows,” he said. “We don’t get time to be happy or celebrate or anything. So that’s when I decided that night that I’m too old to keep doing it.” 

A few days after the sale was finished, R Plus Simmentals announced the decision on its Facebook page, and that on Dec. 21 and 22, they would be offering their entire Simmental program, including cows, bred heifers, heifer calves and their bull crop. It has been one of the largest registered Simmental herds in Canada.

The Facebook post thanked all of the buyers and bidders for their “overwhelming” support this year,

“We are humbled to see the confidence that is placed in our programs offering. We are extremely blessed to have done this for almost 30 years, and it never ceases to amaze me all of the excitement bull sale season brings to our industry,” the post said.

LeBlanc said it’s time to take on a new challenge, and the purebred industry is very time consuming. He’s looking forward to spending more time with family. 

They’ll still have cattle and livestock, but not the purebred cattle.

LeBlanc has enjoyed having the sales, thanks to the people and the challenge of raising better cattle every year.  

“We’ve had guys that have bought bulls from us for over 25 years. They only buy bulls here. That’s what I’m going to miss is those people, because they are so loyal to us, and now I feel like I’m quitting on them,” LeBlanc said.

The sales required 365 days of preparation. It starts with the breeding of the cows. He’s already started lining up semen and putting orders in for next year. As the sale gets closer, he’s advertising, seeking consultants, sorting and ordering, and semen testing. 

“There’s a job every day for two months prior to the bull sale that you’re doing with your bulls – videoing, picturing, catalogue fees – you don’t get a break, and that’s why it’s time to have a bit of a life, because it’s entirely around this bull sale,” he said.

If the weather is bad the day of the sale or something goes sideways, it can have negative consequences.

Anyone who has a bull sale will be totally exhausted at the end of the day, he said.

But the bull sale is something they became known for. They have been fortunate enough to raise several prominent bulls for the Simmental breed.  

“If you look in catalogues, you’ll find … R Plus Simmentals in lots and lots of pedigrees. We have made a mark in the industry. I guess that would be me proudest accomplishment, is we see our name in a lot of other people’s catalogues.”  

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