Four Airdrie-area ranches come out of top of Calgary Bull Sale

Airdrie ranches raised four of the top-selling animals in the Calgary Bull Sale, Feb. 29 to March 1 at the Calgary Stampede grounds.

The top-selling Hereford came from S. Nixdorff & Sons of Airdrie and went for $25,000 to Fenton Hereford Ranch Inc. of Irma, Alta. The Nixdorff ranch has been in operation east of Airdrie for more than 100 years.

The reserve champion Hereford, from MN Herefords of Airdrie, also a Nixdorff family ranch, was purchased for $16,000 by Errol Verbeek of Evansburg, Alta., and Eureka Hereford Farms Inc. of Eureka River, Alta.

“It was a great feeling,” said Austin Nixdorff of MN Herefords. “The Calgary Bull Sale is so well known and the pride and prestige to win this show amplifies that you are doing well in the industry.”

YV Ranch, located east of Airdrie, sold a bull calf for $23,000, a record for the ranch.

“It was a tremendous year and we sold more bulls than we have in the past,” said Nels Nixdorff of YV Ranch.

“The sale average was up $1,700 a bull. The cattle market has changed tremendously. It is the best bull sale I have been a part of for 26 years.”

He attributed the successful sale to supply and demand.

“It has been tough over the past 10 years with BSE (mad cow disease). The markets are back and there is not enough cattle so calf prices are at an all time high. It makes for an excellent sale.”

The top-selling Simmental, offered up by Pieschel Farms of Airdrie, was bought for $4,000 by White Lake Colony of Nobleford, Alta.

This year’s top-selling bull was an Angus from consignor Belvin Angus Farms of Innisfail, Alta., purchased for $26,000 by LCL Angus of Coronation, Alta. The reserve champion Angus, a bull from Lorenz Angus Farms of Markerville, Alta., went for $7,500 to Dalrene Farms of New Norway, Alta.

“There was just so much optimism out there. You could feel it in the barn,” said Mabel Hamilton, the president of the Alberta Cattle Breeders Association, reflecting on the 112th annual Calgary Bull Sale.

“People were excited. People were positive. It was just a different feel than we’ve experienced in quite a while.”

This year’s Calgary Bull Sale rang up total sales of $1,380,675 — a jump of more than half a million dollars over the 2011 edition, and the highest total since 2003. And with 205 bulls sold, the average price was $5,726.83, easily the highest figure of the new millennium.

“This tells me that the industry maybe has turned a corner,” said Hamilton. “It is a case of supply-and-demand (with the Canadian herd falling to an 18-year low of 13.87 million head last summer). But I was cautiously optimistic before we went into this year’s show… and it met all my expectations, and then some.

“I was thinking we’d crack a million (in total sales). But people had some money in their jeans… and people had done their homework. And how did this happen so quickly? Because so many people exited the industry, for whatever reason, in the past nine years.”

The Calgary Bull Sale boasts world-renowned genetics and sees consignors offer top bulls from Hereford, Angus, and other breeds to commercial ranchers or fellow purebred producers from across North America.

An industry barometer for the rest of the bull-buying season, the Calgary Bull Sale is also a benchmark for the Canadian cattle industry, which has been buoyed by soaring market prices for calves and fat cattle since the fall of 2010, as well as recent positive developments from the export market.

This year’s sales total of $1.38 million included 15 ranch horses, which sold for a total of $101,800, and the first-ever Commercial Replacement Heifer Pen Show and Sale, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, which saw 15 pens of five heifers go for a total of $104,875.

The average sale price among 126 Hereford bulls sold was $5,930.95, while the average sale price among 77 Angus was $5,442.86.

The top volume buyers were Guenther Ranch of Consort, Alta., Pipeline Grazing Co-op of Medicine Hat, Alta., WA Ranches Ltd. of Calgary, Miller Ranches Ltd. of Hanceville, B.C., and John Simkin of Veteran, Alta.

For more results on the 2012 Calgary Bull Sale, visit

Source: Airdrie City View