By: Mike McDonnell
Recently, Dave Johnson and I had the opportunity to attend the annual spring sale held by VanDyke Angus Ranch in Manhattan, Montana. This operation has a storied history of providing quality breeding stock to wide array of cattle producers in a broad geographic region.
Typical for “Spring” time in Montana, winter weather loomed on the horizon. However, the sale was well attended with the sale barn filled to capacity. There was a good representation of purebred and commercial cattleman from throughout the country. Bidding was lively with the high selling bull, lot 25, exceeding $40,000.
One-hundred-thirty-eight bulls made their way through the ring with an average price of just over $6,100, exceeding last year’s results. With a nearly five percent increase from 2013, the average price increased nearly 90 percent from 2010 to 2014.
While actual profitability in 2014 is yet to be quantified, if results from this spring bull sales is an indication, thus far, the optimism of 2013 appears to have rolled into 2014. While a softening in Midwest cropland values looms on the horizon, barring unforeseen circumstances, the combination of elevated cattle prices and short supply is expected to create demand for quality ranch properties in 2014.