11/2/2013 7:00 AM
By Rick Hemphill Maryland Correspondent
BOONSBORO, Md. — The Maryland Angus Association held their fourth annual Angus event on Oct. 20 at the Thomas and Sons Farm just outside of Boonsboro, Md. More than 250 buyers and spectators attended the sale of 40 lots of registered Maryland Angus cows, calves, bulls and steers from farms across the state.
Amid the reverberating calls of the auctioneer and the increasingly louder “yeps” of the Stetson-clad ringmen, the 40 lots sold for $122,125, an average of $3,055 per head.
“We have made better strides over last year,” said Dave Brauning Jr., The Maryland Angus Association Sale chairman. “We offered well-bred, sound cattle that will work in anyone’s herd and show animals. All the cattle have really solid pedigrees today. We had people from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and several phone bids from out West.”
“We do not have large livestock farms here in Maryland,” said Randy Stabler of Pleasant Valley Farms. “We have a lot of smaller breeders that have fabulous purebred cattle but they don’t have the ability to sell 40 to 60 lots and individually fund an entire sale. The Angus association provides the venue for the sale and the breeders can reap the benefits of it. We have been fortunate enough that it has been held at Thomas’ farm in Boonsboro where they have the facilities to put it on.”
The Thomases created these facilities by substantially modifying existing storage buildings by adding a permanent show ring and auctioneer facilities.
“It was originally a hay barn,” said Tracy Thomas, the owner and fifth-generation farmer who raises Limousin cattle. “We dairy farmed until 1988 and then went to commercial beef. It’s been our family farm a long time. My great-grandfather built the barn in 1880 and the house in 1883.”
The Maryland Angus Association sale has become a positive annual event.
“This sale gives us an opportunity to improve on our genetics,” said Mike Nelson, who was buying for his Triple Creek Farm near Taneytown, Md. “There are top quality cows here and it just helps to improve my herd. We try to find some cattle that have more depth of rib, more muscle, a better disposition, and I like black cattle. Here you have some top notch animals. You know their background, history, and as a buyer, you can take comfort in that.”
And not just any Angus stock gets into this sale.
“We go out on tour and visit each farm,” said Jim Matheny of the sale committee. “We see each cow and calf to make certain they are up to our standards before we let them into the sale. The buyers can expect to get some of the better Angus cattle in Maryland.”
Jon Heizer, the sale veterinarian, was busy checking animals sold out-of-state.
“About 10 percent of the animals in the sale are from embryo transfers and I do a lot of that in my practice,” Heizer said. “We want to be selective in the cattle that are sold as it is the breeders’ reputation and they want to sell their best stock and be known as a good source of genetics.”
“We have some embryo lots in the sale now,” said Dave Brauning Jr. “But a lot of people like to see animals on the hoof and that is why most of the time we want to have live animals on the ground. Maryland raises good cattle and the breeders are dedicated to always provide good cattle at the sale.”