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Salacoa has record-breaking fall sale

Salacoa Valley Farms broke records at its fall sale in November 2017 when 109 buyers from nine states, Mexico and Australia bought more than 400 bulls and heifers. It was the Georgia ranch’s largest bull sale and the largest sale of female Brangus the breed has seen anywhere.

Alex Johns and Chris Heptinstall on the dais during the fall sale at Salacoa Valley Farm. (Courtesy photo)

Owned by the Seminole Tribe since 2013, Salacoa’s reputation in the cattle industry is based on its superior genetics. That prestigious standing is a result of hard work and scientific research, which attracts buyers from far and wide for the animals and the seed stock.

“We have some of the most premier genetics of the Brangus breed,” said Alex Johns, natural resource director. “We are one of the largest seed stock operators in the country and we will continue to expand. It has been an improvement to the Tribe’s genetic base for the cow operation.”

The highest price paid for a female at the fall sale was $32,000 and one bull brought $50,000, but the average price per lot was $4,742. Overall, the sale grossed $1.8 million.

After the sale, the cattle were shipped to Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida. Those destined for Mexico were quarantined before being shipped south in December. The Australian buyers purchased an interest in a few females and seed stock for their distributor down under.

Salacoa general manager Chris Heptinstall attributes the success of the sale to the ranch having reached its maximum stocking capacity of females, which allowed them to sell more than at previous sales. Even with the large amount of animals sold, Salacoa is able to maintain the size of the herd at 800 registered and 300 commercial cows because of its size.

“It was the first time we offered a lot of young females,” Heptinstall said. “We let go genetics we would normally keep here. The bull market is also gaining popularity; the demand for our genetics is growing.”

Those genetics give Salacoa’s Brangus characteristics such as longevity, more bone, bigger foot and other traits that allow them to thrive in the subtropical climate of the southeast. Heptinstall said Salacoa is the fourth largest Brangus breeder in the nation, but it doesn’t plan to stop there.

The ranch has also cross-bred its premier Brangus and Santa Gertrudis cows to create a new breed, the Super American. Both breeds are predominant in the southeast and coastal regions and can withstand heat and drought.

“The breeds are real close and the Super American are more drought tolerant,” Johns said. “When you take two purebred animals, you can get a superior one to the mother or father. The new breed is bigger, stronger, more efficient and has more of the ability to thrive.”

Some of the Super American seed stock was sold in November and there are plans to offer more at the next sale in March at the Briggs Ranch in Texas, where Heptinstall said they will also sell about 100 bulls.

Since the Tribe acquired Salacoa more scientific research has been done, which resulted in the increase in quality of the herd and the seed stock.

“We have become one of the big players in the Brangus breed,” Heptinstall said. “It took about five years to get here, but we are highly regarded by the industry and reputable within the breed; we are in the top three.”

 

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.

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