Conformation still key focus for commercial cattle buyers

EDMONTON — A delayed harvest and a softer cattle market probably contributed to a smaller commercial show at this year’s Farmfair International, which was held in Edmonton Nov. 9-13.

Pens of commercial bulls and bred heifers were on display Nov. 12, offering a wide range of types and breeds.

“The quality was excellent, and I don’t say that at every show I judge,” said Kyle Lewis, who evaluated the cattle with his father, Ken Lewis, of Spruce Grove, Alta.

On the bull side, many producers were looking to see what this year’s model had to offer with new and improved genetics among groups of yearling bulls.

“We tend to pick cattle as to what the average progressive commercial cattlemen need,” Lewis said.

The commercial bred heifers also represented a wide range of programs, but for the most part were consistent in size and type.

In addition, heifers from some of Alberta’s research programs were on offer. The cattle were Angus based from the Agriculture Canada program at Lacombe, Alta., and the Kinsella Research Centre run by the University of Alberta.

The Kinsella cattle have been genotyped and were statistically selected on the basis of fertility and weaning weights. They were artificially inseminated with semen from genotyped bulls.

Cattle raised at the research centre were good quality, but bidders appeared less interested in statistics and preferred to select heifers based on phenotype, said Lewis.

“Ninety percent are bidding on conformation and what they think will make a good cow,” he said.

The results were as follows:

  • Grand champion pen of three bulls: Simmental-High Country Cattle Services, Rob and Deanne Young, and Double R Cattle, Don and Stacy Romanyk, Breton, Alta.
  • Reserve pen of three bulls: Poplar Meadows Angus, Monty and Tanya Belsham, Houston, B.C.
  • Grand champion pen of five bulls: Crone Herefords, Hardisty, Alta.
  • Reserve pen of five bulls: Rutledge Herefords, Hardisty, Alta.
  • Champion pen of 10 heifers: Fenton Ranch, Irma, Alta.,sold for $2,900 each. This was also the high price of the sale.
  • Reserve pen of 10 heifers: Silverado Enterprises, Travis Rogers, Westlock, Alta., sold for $2,000.
  • Champion pen of five heifers: Rutledge Herefords, sold for $2,500
  • Reserve pen of five heifers: Loralta Farms, Boyle, Alta., sold for $2,250.

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