Many new breeders buy cattle at public auction thinking that they are getting a good deal. They may believe that selling these cattle at the Longhorn auctions is the best and easiest way to market. There are some advantages when you buy registered longhorns at public auctions. They are fun, educational and support special causes affiliated with the industry. Longhorn auctions may also be a gathering place for breeders at all levels where a new breeder can meet new friends and mentors.
While there may be advantages to buying/selling cattle at auction, private treaty sales are still the bread and butter of this industry.
Private treaty offers some advantages that you can’t get at auction. When you buy cattle private treaty you are buying an animal based on more than what you see in the ring and a short blurb of information in a catalog. The buyer has a more personal relationship with the seller and can get detailed answers. The buyer can see the animal in a natural setting and may even be able to see offspring, siblings, and the sire/dam. Some sellers may not offer their best cattle at public auction but will occasionally price them at private treaty. The buyer can ask questions about fertility, medical problems, disposition, etc. and then take the time needed to make the final decision.
Once private treaty buyers have gathered all of the information about an animal or group of animals, they can make the decision to buy on their own time. You can think it over, ask questions, etc. From the seller’s point of view, the time taken by a prospective buyer may be just what that buyer needs to decide that they don’t want a cow. They want five cows, a few heifers, and of course, they will need a bull. The buyer might get a discount for a package deal.
Finally, private treaty offers an opportunity to put a name and face on the seller so that if you encounter a future problem, the solution is much more personable and more easily negotiated. If you handle the sale in a professional manner, provide a good product, and stand behind what you sell, you will have a client for life who will recommend you to anyone else they know who may want a Longhorn or two. This is not true of selling at an auction, for many times the new owner and seller will never meet. At MKMC Longhorns we do not see the actual purchase as the end of a relationship, but merely the beginning.