DEAWOOD, SD – From the vast expanse of American rangelands comes an offering of bison in a sale that is an annual industry benchmark. That’s according to auctioneer Jud Seaman of Quality Auction Services, Inc., who will handle the gavel at the Turner Bison Exchange Prairie Performance Bison Auction, Sat., Jan. 8 at The Lodge in Deadwood, SD.
“Turner Enterprises own 13 ranches in several states and owns somewhere between 47,000 to 50,000 bison,” says Seaman. “Every year, top performers are selected from across those ranches and offered at auction. These animals selling on Saturday are the best of the best.”
The annual sale that gets underway at 6:00pm (MT) will host a live audience as well as on-line bidding. Lots are all DNA tested. Such an offering from a single-owner is unique, says Seaman.
“What sets this auction apart is that every one of these animals is owned by Turner Enterprises. This is a one-owner consignment,” says Seaman. “They’re as good as they come.”
Turner Ranches owns grass, first and foremost, that they market through bison. Production ranches manage their bison in large herds on range year-round. Turner Ranches Prairie Performance Auction offers animals from the upper 10% of its production herds and a select offering from one of its conservation herds.
“This is strictly a breeding stock sale. The two-year-old breds will be in three lots of 20, 10 and 10, heifers will in two lots of 10. When we sell the bulls, it’s high-bidder choice. Buyers can take from one to all of the 12 consigned.”
Bulls selling offer sought-after genetics. As an example, Seaman points to bison from Yellowstone National Park. “Turner Enterprises assisted with research at the park some years ago. In return, he ended up with some of those animals from the park. Now, he’s offering some of those Yellowstone genetics out to the industry.” According to Seaman it’s a similar scenario with the Castlerock bulls. “The Turner Bison Exchange has some of the only animals available with those genetics.”
On sale day, the National Bison Association (NBA) will hold a marketing program geared towards meat marketers. Seaman, who auctioneers 95 percent of bison sales in the U.S., says prices for live animals have remained steady. And monthly USDA reports indicate an increase in processing.
“As a niche market, we’ve watched cycles of oversupply and undersupply come and go,” observes Seaman. “In most recent years, live prices have remained steady. And our industry processing rate continues to increase with estimates of 70,000 to 80,000 processed in 2021 – up by 10,000 in 2020. The last few years have seen similar increases.”
He adds, “The guys who are feeding and processing bison will talk about what’s in the pipeline and what it looks like going forward will be leading the marketing program.”
Solid genetics, reputable production practices and proven results attract commercial producers, processors, industry leaders and others to this sale.
“This is where the majority of the bison in the United States are raised. It makes sense to hold the auction in this region,” notes Seaman. “The executive director of the NBA as will the president of the NBA. Turner Enterprises ranch managers will also be there.”
He adds, “The Turner Bison Exchange Prairies Performance Bison Auction is one of the monumental sales of the year. People in the industry watch it, using what comes from this sale as an indicator of what the remainder of the year might look like in terms of production and marketing bison. The movers and shakers in the industry will be Deadwood on Saturday, that’s for sure.”
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