The importance of selling quality stock We all know that reaching the point in your herd’s life where even the stock you want to sell are as good as the ones you want to keep seems like a long and difficult journey, but is it really that far away? In this article we look into the importance of selling high quality pedigree and commercial animals, and how it can be achieved. Firstly, the benefits of having stock for sale that you would gladly keep hold of yourself go far beyond just keeping a good reputation with your customers. It also means that you can have complete confidence in the product you are trying to advertise, as well as contributing to making the breed look good as a whole, which in turn attracts new members who feel like they can buy top drawer cattle even if they are just starting out. This of course holds more benefits later down the line, as with a larger membership comes growth in all areas such as attendance at sales, pedigree stock prices and confidence in the strength of the breed. This is all very well and good, and ideally we would all want to see these things happen, but how do we achieve it? From what I have seen it is fair to say that some people can make it look easy, and the rest of us may be left wondering if we could ever achieve such a standard, especially if you only have a few cows in your herd. However the principles are simple, and can be applied to herds of all sizes. Management is a huge factor in making sure your stock can reach their full potential. Very simply, if you show people around a herd of cattle which are not in good condition, or where the calves look like they are only ¾ as big as they should be, you will not attract business. Although times are obviously hard, there should not be many reasons why a Traditional Hereford would not thrive as well as any other, as we are involved with a breed that makes it very easy for us to show them off in perfect condition. This involves making sure that the cows have the best opportunity to rear their calves as well as they can after they are born, as the importance of this time for youngstock to be as good as possible later down the line cannot be over-emphasised. A Traditional Hereford female which has an ample supply of grass and forage will be able to maintain herself while milking well, without becoming over-fat. It is likely that Traditional Hereford cows that are in poor condition even with enough forage may have problems outside their nutritional intake, such as worms or diseases, and herd health must be taken into account, as this is a very important consideration to potential buyers. It is not just quality pedigree females that have an impact on how your cattle are viewed. The selling of both bulls and fatstock are indicators of the overall quality of your herd too, and should be treated with equally good care. By offering a bull for sale you are showcasing the potential of both his pedigree stock and the ‘bread and butter’ of your client’s business; steers and heifers for the beef trade, be it farm shops or wholesale slaughterhouses. This means that when presenting young bulls, they should be showing off their beef qualities by being as fit and muscular as you would want your finished animals to be, rather than either underweight or too fat. Of course the rules are slightly different for a bull serving cows, as he can be granted a little leeway for ‘working condition’ as is natural, however he again should not be severely underweight or particularly over-fat, as this may appear as though he is not doing his job properly. The bottom line here is that the animals you offer for sale should not be those which you are trying to ‘get rid of’, but those which you are proud to show people as an example of the standard of your herd. If the young bull that you have your eye on to sell starts to develop faults, or is not the kind of animal you would use on your own cows, then do not be afraid to kill him; this validates your business as a commercial beef provider, and eliminates the possibility of a bad reputation.