Bull sale serves as cattlemen association’s biggest fundraiser
Local rancher Dave Stix Jr. circles a mid-February date on his calendar every year, waiting in anticipation for the annual Fallon All Breeds Bull sale.
Not only does Stix, a prominent cattleman on Farm District Road in Fernley enjoy the camaraderie at the bull sale, he also looks at it as the year’s biggest fundraising for the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, of which he is this year’s president.
“It’s NCA’s big fundraiser of the year,” Stix said, noting the event at the Fallon Livestock Exchange is well attended with buyers and sellers from a five-state radius.
By bringing together cattle producers, the 51st annual bull sale offers a venue for them to talk about the latest trends and what the future holds for their operations. Stix said the Fallon All Breeds Bull Sale has become one of the top sources for producers buying quality-breeding bulls.
Stix said Monte Bruck of the Fallon Livestock Exchange does an “exceptional” job preparing for the sale. Bruck, along with Eric Duarte of Beatty, Ore., serves as the auctioneers.
Furthermore, Stix said the NCA receives its share of money from the bull sale to take care of the office staff, publish a monthly newspaper and annual bull sale program and assist with expenses when members attend legislative or nonlegislative events to inform the membership.
While sellers began arriving in Fallon late Wednesday, the actual bull sale commences at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Fallon Livestock Exchange’s arena. Based on the year’s first bull sale in California in January and what trends are emerging, Stix said the average price for a bull at Red Bluff was $5,300. Although the industry suffered lower prices during the Great Recession, Stix said the industry is making a strong comeback and that prices are stabilizing, although some producers are still seeing small losses.
To compensate losses and establish a break-even or better profit, Stix said producers are adding bulls, which, in turn, results in more calves.
“There’s a lot of optimism in the cow market,” he said. “But it translates to people increasing their herd size.”
Stix considers the Fallon sale as one of the best in the West. He said producers have registered 139 quality range-ready bulls for the sale, but the sifters and graders will analyze the quality of the animals this morning, and by mid-to-late day, the sale should have between 90-100 bulls available for Saturday’s auction.
Last year’s event showed how serious buyers spent their money.
The 2016 sale featured bulls ranging from 14-25 months of age. Cattlemen from California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah attended the sale looking to buy their range-ready bulls for the year. The sales of 113 high quality bulls totaled $496,000 with a sale average of $4,389.38. Breed Averages included: Angus for $4,396.34; Red Angus for $2,950.00; Charolais for $4,541.67; and Herefords for $4,723.68. Last year the volume buyer jacket was awarded to Steve Lucas of Lucas Livestock.
Other activities include the Invitational Stock Dog Trials to benefit families in need of help in the livestock industry. The Stock Dog Trial begins this morning at 7:30 a.m. Three started dogs will be auctioned Saturday at the Fallon Bull Sale.
Tonight’s Churchill County Cowbelles dinner-dance also includes a welcome and awards beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a social time, 6 p.m. awards, followed by food at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.