This year’s bull sale by M.C. Quantock Livestock is the 50th sale for the Creech families. Pictured from left are brothers Bill, Barney and Mac Creech in the early years with their dad Frank on the family ranch. SUPPLIED PHOTO
This year’s bull sale by M.C. Quantock Livestock in Lloydminster will be a special one for owner Mac Creech, his family, ranch hands, and customers.
The Jan. 27 sale at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds will mark the 50th year his family has been staging a bull sale in Lloydminster at this time of the year.
His brother Bill and family from Hill 70 Quantock ranch will hold their own auction the following week selling up to 400 bulls.
“Fifty years ago it was my dad’s farm and over time it’s been expanded and divided amongst family members, but it’s 50 years since the first bull sale,” said Creech.
“It really is a milestone—the first ones were very small and only sold Hereford cattle, which was what everyone raised 50 years ago, and then with time everything changes and develops.”
They’ve sold more than 12,000 bulls in the previous 49 annual sales, but the family has been in the bull business for more than 100 years over three generations.
This year, Creech hopes to sell 425 two-year-old bulls, one at a time as usual to commercial cattlemen with live and phone-in bidding.
“This is how I make a living in one day,” he said, adding the number of bulls is down a little bit from last year, but not significantly.
He said year by year, the percentage of bulls and heifers varies a little.
As for prices, Creech said he expects them to be very similar to last year.
“We could be a little stronger than last year because the average cattleman got 15 to 20 per cent more for his calves this year when he sold them,” he explained.
“It should be steady anyway, that’s our projection.”
According to family history, this sale will be approximately the 45th one held at the exhibition grounds.
He said he and his wife Pat have worked together year after year to make it a success.
They have two sons and a daughter who are involved in the annual bull sales, including their son Cody who is a full-time cow hand.
Creech was just 17 when he helped his own dad Frank with his first Hereford bull sale in 1969 in the old covered stockyards in Lloydminster.
He said nowadays there is more interest in cross breeding then there was a long time ago, and there’s way more options for people.
“In the old days, there was only two or three breeds,” said Creech, who produces eight different lines of bulls today from purebred cows.
“We produce four different purebred lines Red Angus, Black Angus, Hereford and Charolais,” he said.
“Then we produce hybrid lines of bulls by using Simmental and Gelbvieh sires on some of those purebred cows.
In the past 25 years, the Quantock cow herd has produced in excess of $25 million worth of bulls.
Creech photographs all of the bulls himself for his annual customer catalogue that has 80 pages this year listing all the bulls along with their pertinent performance information.
“It is really a big job and that all has to be done either just before Christmas or between Christmas and the new year, then it has to be printed and it goes to a mail house,” he said.
There is also an online version along with a free 40 minute DVD available.
The majority of his customers come from the four western provinces, with some bulls sold to cattlemen in the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, and parts of the United States with free delivery.
One of the other selling points is M.C. Quantock’s $100 bull development program for buyers.
It’s an after-market convenience to feed and look after the bulls in Lloydminster during the winter.
Creech says it’s a convenience for his customers who don’t want to take a bull home in the middle of winter.
“If he doesn’t have a place to keep him separate, he has to mix him with the existing bulls that he has, and that just creates chaos,” he explained.
“In April, they will get a phone call telling them what arrangements we’ve made to get them their bull.”
Creech said the $100 fee doesn’t cover the cost of the feed, especially during cold spells like the one at the end of December, that he said is a struggle for all cattlemen.
“You fight with a lot of problems when it’s that cold that you don’t when the weather’s warm and you can’t just stay in the house,” he said.
He said you still have to feed and water the cattle.
“When the weather gets that cold it takes probably 30 per cent more feed just to hold your own because they use so much more feed just staying warm,” he said.