Auction raises $400k
Published: Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
A warm, sunny November day brought 81 bidders to the Custer State Park corrals last Saturday for the annual Custer State Park Fall Classic Bison Auction. The sale brought $405,370 in revenue, compared to $319,225 a year ago. However, 256 head were sold this year, compared to 210 a year ago.
“We expected prices to be comparable to last year, and they were close,”âï¿½ï¿½said Gary Brundige, resource program manager for Custer State Park. “Averages were slightly down on all classes, except heifer calves were significantly up (from $904 last year to $1,153 this year) and the 2-year-old bulls were flat ($2,654). We thought the female side of the market might be soft due to drought but they performed better than expected.”
The 2-year-old breeding bulls were the most valuable animals this year, followed by 2-year-old heifers ($2,417), 2-year-old grade bulls ($2,020) and yearling bulls ($1,495). Other price averages included $90 for the 15 burros sold, $1,670 for mature cows, $1,327 for yearling heifers, $1,153 for heifer calves and $1,088 for bull calves.
Brundige said the breeding bulls are the most sought after because there are a limited number of them offered, and they are an important part of any operation. He said the 2-year-old bred heifers are valuable animals that represent an investment into the future of any operation.
Last year only about 40 bidders made it to the auction after a snow storm dumped 18 inches on Custer the day before and on the day of the auction. Brundige said this year’s pleasant weather made a big difference in the number of bidders who turned out.
“I don’t think it had a big impact on the bidding, but did make for a much more pleasant experience,” he said.âï¿½ï¿½“To put it mildly, last year’s weather was not pleasant.”
For the past 45 years, the park has made its surplus bison available for sale to the private sector. A significant amount of park revenue comes from the bison sale and goes toward continued operations of the state park system. The money is deposited into its parks and recreation revolving account, which comes back to the parks to fund operating costs.
“The auction represents the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of folks,” Brundige said.
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