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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — The 77 bulls that walked through the auction ring on Feb. 25 during the 27th annual Buchanan Bull Sale had some similar traits.
They were all registered black Angus, they were 12 to 15 months old and they all had genetics and lineage that could be traced back to the Bob and Kathleen Buchanan ranch. Just over half the bulls were from the Buchanan ranch and the rest were from ranches that had purchased Buchanan bulls in the past and used them in their breeding programs.
The bids for this year’s lineup of bulls ranged from a high of $11,000 down to $2,000.
“I did like how the bulls looked,” said Buchanan, who has been in the Angus business for about 50 years. “We had some well-bred bulls in the sale.”
Steve and Jill Stoltenberg of Willows, Calif., purchased four bulls, including the one that went for $11,000. They said they have been following and using the Buchanan bloodline for a long time and have had success with it in their cattle operation.
“These were good looking bulls with good balance and good EPDs (expected progeny differences,” Steve Stoltenberg said. EPDs forecast the genetic value of an animal as a parent.
Jake Troutt, the American Angus Association field representative for Oregon, Idaho and Washington, attended the bull sale. He said he thought the quality of the bulls was outstanding.
“Bob and Kathleen have their bulls tuned in to what you want them to be,” Troutt said. “They are salt-of-the-earth people and they produce quality bulls.”
Gary McManus of Lakeview, Ore., added that the Buchanan Angus genetics are “second to nobody.” He purchased one bull for his purebred Angus operation.
The Buchanans visit several Angus bull operations in the Billings, Montana, area each year and look for traits in bulls that fit their program.
“If they fit our program, our criteria, our EPD, our phenotype, our soundness, our disposition, the things you can’t see in a photo, then we buy their semen,” Bob Buchanan.
Back at their ranch, the Buchanans’ Angus cows are all bred through artificial insemination. About 170 cows were bred in the last year.
The Buchanans note that some of the key traits of the calves are moderate birth weights, rapid growth and natural muscling. They also emphasize that there is not a creep feeder on their ranch and that the growing calves get their weight from milk and native pasture. The bull calves are weaned and conditioned on a steep juniper-covered hillside overlooking Klamath Lake, giving the animals sound feet and legs.
“We have bred our Angus to be the most trouble-free animals they can be,” Bob Buchanan said. “Cattlemen realize that advantage. There are a number of branded beef programs based on the Angus breed that increases the value of Angus and Angus cross calves.”
For the first 10 years of their bull sale, the Buchanans included only their own bulls. But as the Buchanan Angus genetics became more prominent at other operations, those ranchers were invited to be guest consigners and to bring their bulls to this annual sale.
In addition to the sale, the Buchanans, their family and friends, and the consigners host a tri-tip dinner with live music the night before the sale and then a breakfast the next day before the bulls enter the ring and bids are made.
“We probably wouldn’t be able to take on a project like this sale and the meals without the additional help,” said Bob Buchanan, noting that Steve Stoltenberg has been cooking the tri-tip for many years.
Don Santos, a Glide, Ore., area rancher attended the sale. He said the Angus breed and the Buchanan bull genetics are highly acclaimed because they produce certified beef that grades as choice.