Tips for Selling Cattle On The Farm

rhdRHD Blog

When it comes to selling your purebred cattle or club calves, producers have a variety of options, and at the basic level these options revolve around “on farm” sales vs. “off farm” sales. 

On farm sale examples include:

  • Private treaty sales at the ranch
  • Online sales
  • Production sales at your ranch

Off farm sale examples include:

  • Selling at the local livestock market
  • Participating in a consignment sale / special sale
  • Selling in the stalls at shows

Both methods are great options for marketing, and many annual marketing plans include a mixture of each of these methods.  In this particular blog, we will discuss tips for selling on the farm by private treaty. 

Private treaty sales are probably the most common and easiest method of selling your cattle on the farm. In this method, prospective buyers visit your farm privately. You show them your cattle, name your price, and the negotiations begin. This type of sale can occur any day, any week. Here are a few tips to consider if you select selling on the farm private treaty:

  • Try to have your place as clean and presentable as possible. 
  • Have a sale sheet of available cattle, pedigrees and prices. This can be as simple as something created in Microsoft Word or Excel. A printed list helps your buyers buy with confidence. Having a printed list gives your buyers confidence that a “$5000 heifer” is a “$5000 heifer” no matter who is looking. For example, it alleviates the worry that people change prices based on their perception of what that particular buyer is willing to pay. 
  • Have your cattle sorted into smaller pens or traps to make it easy to view. 
  • Sellers, do your research in pricing. Sometimes setting your price is the hardest part of private treaty sales. Be aware of prices of comparable cattle in public auctions, and factors like the economy, supply and demand. 

Having a good website, email marketing and social media presence can really boost your private treaty sales. Ultimately, people need to know what you have cattle for sale. So, the best way to do that is the website+email+Facebook combo. 

Start by picturing some or all of your cattle. If you have a large group, try to get a few pictures of a sampling of your offering to give people an idea of the quality you will be offering. 

Post these pictures on your website along with pedigree information and how to schedule a visit to your farm. 

Then, share your website cattle for sale page on social media and email marketing to get the word out as soon as possible. 

Some producers like to set a designated start date for when their private treaty sales begin – such as “Private Treaty Sales Begin September 1”. This allows you to prepare your farm and cattle for visitors, and be prepared for the visitors.  This can also be used in print advertising to help people know of your event. 

When someone visits your farm, start by greeting them, and giving them the informational sheet about your cattle. Show them the cattle – whether it be walking in the pen with them, driving them in the pasture, or riding in a ATV. This is your chance to talk about each calf and answer any questions. 

Then, your buyer might like some time alone to carefully look at the cattle in private, or to talk over their thoughts with a family member. It is a nice courtesy to give your buyers a little time on their own without pressuring them. 

Private treaty sales are a very popular method of sales because they are personal, allow you to get to know your buyers, and are a low stress sales situation. What tips would you add below?