Buyers, consignors: Nevada cattle market strong despite pandemic

The Fallon All Breeds Bull Sale, held Feb. 20, provided buyers with range-ready bulls.

The Fallon All Breeds Bull Sale, held Feb. 20, provided buyers with range-ready bulls. Photo: Steve Ranson / Lahontan Valley News

Buyers and consignors who recently attended the 55th annual Fallon All Breeds Bull Sale said the cattle market looks strong for 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Cattlemen from California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah attended the one-day sale on Feb. 20 looking to buy range-ready bulls.

Steve Smith of Lehi, Utah, has been coming to Fallon for years and said he’s optimistic about this year’s market.

“The bull market has actually been stronger,” Smith said, who brought five bulls to the sale.

Martin Paris, executive director of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, which sponsors the event at Fallon Livestock LLC, said this year’s sale featured bulls ranging from 16 to 24 months of age. Consignments arrived on Feb. 18, and the sifting and grading of the bulls occurred on the morning of Feb. 19.

Paris said 64 bulls were sold for an average of $4,245. The breed averages included the following: Angus, $5,009; Herefords, $2,494; and Red Angus, $3,500.

Paris said the bull sale brought in more money this year with fewer bulls than last year’s sale.

“Each year consignors bring high-quality bulls and this year was no different,” he said. “Because of the quality of bulls and dedicated support, the sale continues to be a success and reach out to many of the western states.”

The Fallon sale is serving as a good barometer for the cattle market to those in attendance.

This year marks Mike Owings’ second year of coming to Fallon. He owns the Ownings Cattle Co., in Powell Butte, Ore., and, like others, remain optimistic.

“The bulls have been selling pretty good since January,” he added.

Dan Daniels of Malad, Idaho, said bull sales have perform well, and he expects the year will be favorable to the cattlemen.

“The cattle market has done fairly well compared to what COVID has done to the rest of the world,” he said.

Daniels is no stranger to Fallon. He has been coming to the All-Breed Bull Sale for 30 years, and he said his father came before him.

“I’ve seen changes both bad and good,” he said of the industry during that time.

Cara Goss, a research technician and livestock at the University of Nevada, Reno’s main station farm, said the industry is like any other — with good and bad years.

“This year looks pretty good,” said Goss, adding the university brought three bulls to the sale.

Even with the pandemic taking hold of most of 2020, she noticed a jump in sales. Goss, said, her focus was on both the Fallon bull sale and the future.

“We need to prepare for this and understand what the cattle industry needs,” Goss said. “That will continue for a while.”

Chris Beck from Genoa Livestock in Douglas County said grain prices also will dictate the success of the cattle market.

“I’m optimist in the market moving forward this year,” he said.

Before the auction, the NCA honored two women who were influential with the association.  Auctioneer and announce Eric Duarte recognized Lilla Bell and Tammy Lee.

Duarte said this year’s bull sale was dedicated to Bell, who moved to Paradise Valley north of Winnemucca, in 1979 after living in Fallon for six years. In 1976 the Bell Ranch joined the American Polled Hereford Association (APHA) and after moving to Paradise Valley, the Bells increased their registered herd to raise bulls for commercial breeders. Bell was also active with the NCA.

Lee, a longtime Churchill County resident who died in July 2020 in an accident, was also noted for her work with the NCA and the ranching industry. In November, Churchill County and her friends honored her during a ceremony to rename the Green Arena on the east end of the fairgrounds to the Tammy Lee Arena.


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