Bill Fosher wrote:Kathy and others who have consigned rams to sales,
Can you usually set a reserve price? I realize that this has some implications on biosecurity, but there setting that aside, is it possible to bring a ram home short of bidding on it yourself?
My only experience has been with the PA Ram Test. There is a reserve price of $250 on rams set by the technical committee (I'd like to see it higher, but am still fighting that battle). I could set a higher reserve price if I so chose (or, on a slightly less ethical note, bid on my own animal and 'win' it), and have it 'no-sale' if reserve isn't met. Then I could hypothetically take it home. In the early years for our flock, I had the occasional ram who 'no-saled' and I sent them to auction (they usually run a truck from the ram test to auction after the sale, which is convenient to me as I don't have to deal with the rams at all), as taking them home was not an option for me.
Also, with the Ram Test, I have the option of taking home (or selling elsewhere) any rams that didn't make the sale (the sale committee makes a cut each year, so some decent rams may not make the sale just because the rankings were so close).
But, I don't do that, primarily due to biosecurity. Fortunately, the PA Ram Test sells the rams just after the test ends, so I don't have to deal with the rams or where to put them after the sale. The WI ram test, for example, sends the rams home after the test, and they are brought back later for a sale. That wouldn't be an option for me.
While ram sales have generally been good (prices were good this year, which surprised me with the economy and sluggishness of some other sales), ewe sales have been low. Last year I consigned 2 ewes (first and probably last time I'll do that). The minimum bid was $150, which is what mine sold for (that price was typicaly of the whole ewe sale with only a very few exceptions). After commission, etc. I took home $135 each on them. I can get that much for them as a hot house/slaughter lamb, with no future breeding guarantees attached. At those prices, there's no incentive to me to haul them to the sale (even though it's very close to me), violate any health guarantee I may have on them, and risk having them 'no-sale'. I had already told the sales mgr. that if they no-saled, they were to go on the auction truck, as it wasn't worth my taking them home after being exposed to so many other sheep.