Friday, August 1, 2014

Sale Barn

Neighbor took Guv'nor to a local Sale Barn a few weeks ago. So I asked him to take a few photos and write a few paragraphs for me.
It was my first view of a local cattle auction. I saw more cowboy hats that day than in the two years since we arrived in Texas.

The cows were penned prior to sale and a gantry in the barn allowed them to be viewed from above. There were probably less than 500 head on view that day.

The speed at which the cows are moved through the auction arena was a big surprise. Metal gates clank open and closed every few seconds while the bidding takes place, and very often the next animal is in the arena before the bidding on the previous one is over.

An old black and white TV screen provides bidders with a blurry view of the weights and prices of the cows as they are posted. I struggled to distinguish between the numbers – whether they were prices, weights, or prices per pound. Neighbor was having trouble, too. Like many auctions, it’s hard to see who is actually bidding.

The consensus was that even scruffy looking animals were commanding high prices. Just a question of supply and demand. It is estimated that the total Texas herd is 30% smaller now than a few years ago after ranchers culled their animals in the drought.

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