23rd Annual Split Diamond Angus bull sale

Steve and Hans Buckner preparing for their 23rd annual sale.

Date: March 6, 2014

Location: Beaverhead Livestock Auction, Dillon, MT.

Auctioneer: Joe Goggins

Reported by: Sarah Swenson

Average: 105 Yearling bulls – $4,531

Rain, sleet and snow could not keep bidders away from the 23rd Annual Split Diamond Angus bull sale in Dillon, Mont. The weather was wintery all across Montana, however when you arrived at the sale, everything was clear and the sun was shining. And boy did the sun shine on Split Diamond that day! Split Diamond Angus is one of those sales you go to for a couple of years and then you know everyone because you continue to see the same folks year after year returning for another tremendous bull to add to their program. Combine the repeat buyers with the new buyers who have heard promising things about the Buckner’s program, and you have the perfect recipe for a day like the March 6 sale.

An influx of new buyers combined with repeat buyers and phone bids kept the action alive from bull 1 to bull 121. The crowd on hand had done their homework and was ready to invest what it took to take home their selection. There was also a strong number of buyers on the phones.

Split Diamond Angus, Steve and Linda Buckner, Hans and Diana Buckner, has been raising quality Angus cattle for over three decades based on dedication to adding more value to their product for their customer with carcass, rib eye and thickness. The additional focus on carcass really adds to the value of these bulls that are out of some proven cow families. When I was first introduced to Split Diamond genetics, I was really impressed with their focus on maternal traits and nursing ratios, along with performance data. The Buckners sure are not afraid to cull heavily if a cow does not meet their high standards, which has to contribute greatly to the quality of bulls they produce.

Hans is truly a student of the breed and invests a lot of time studying genetics to culminate the right combination and offer their customers progressive genetics that are best suited for our environment. You will see Hans at many of the top sales in the region making his selections to further advance the solid cow herd the Buckners have spent decades building. The top herd sires they recently invested in include PA Fortitude 2500, BT Border Patrol 1612 and LaGrand Brilliance 2011. I look forward to seeing their progeny topping the sales to come.

This year, the top-selling sire groups were Sitz Upwad 307R and S A V Final Answer. Buckners have had great success with using Sitz Upward 307R and it proves to continue to be a great match up. TC Vance 011, Connealy Consensus 7229, VDAR Really Windy 4097, SAV Homesteader 7282 and SD Powder Horn X803, also made an impact. Across all of these sire groups, the 2014 offering was as deep, functional and uniform as you will see- 63 percent of the bulls had a Birth Weight EPD less than breed average of +1.8, 85 percent had a Weaning Weight EPD of more than the Angus average of +46 and 95 percent had a Yearling Weight EPD of more than the Angus average of +82.

Split Diamond Angus used the feed resources readily available to them to create a ration, which had the bulls in ultimate condition for sale day. The bulls completed a 120-day performance test with a responsible growth rate of 3.0 ADG, so that they are ready to be turned out and go to work for the producer.

The ability to feed these bulls to optimum condition and raise top-quality cattle that meet today’s challenging industry needs is why we will be seeing and hearing a lot more about Split Diamond Angus in the coming years.

The sale started with a bang when the Lot 1 bull topped the sale selling for $13,000 to Cal Erb, Dillon, Mont. SD Upward 3183 is a son of Sitz Upward 307R out of a GAR Predestined daughter. This dam’s production is a WR 2@111, YR 2@ 107, IMF 2@142, and REA 2@109. Lot 1 posted a BW of 89 on 2/5/2013 and EPDs of: CED +7, BW +1.8, WW +70, YW +122 and Milk +40. Additionally his economic traits bear noting as he was identified as the #1 WW, YW, $W, $B bull in the sale and the second highest 205 wt and 365 wt bull in the sale, complimented by being the #3 bull for marbling.

The second high seller was Lot 42, SD Upward 3502, also a Sitz Upward 307R son out of a 21AR Roundup 7005 daughter. He posted EPDs of CED +5, BW +2.8, WW +66, YW +119 and Milk +33 with a WR of 105 and YR 108. This February 2013 calf had a BW 89, 205 Weight of 781 and a 365 weight of 1357-the heaviest 365 day weight of the entire offering. This bull sold to Nelson Spring Creek Ranch LLC, Livingston, Mont., for $11,000.

The third highest selling bull for the day was Lot 2, another Upward son- SD Upward 3074, who’s dam was sired by Hyline Right Time 338. This bull rang the bell at $10,500 and also sold to Spring Creek Ranch, LLC, Livingston, Mont. Identified as the #1 scrotal EPD in the offering, #2 WW EPD, #4 205 WT, as well as the #4 YW EPD. This bull had a BW 89, 205 WT 811, and 365 WT 1254. He posted EPDs of CED +9, BW +2.1, WW +67, YW +114 and Milk +36.

Making yet another purchase of a top selling bull, Roger Nelson of Spring Creek Ranch, LLC, Livingston, Mont., also purchased the fourth top selling bull, a Final Answer 0035 son. This bull, SD Final Answer 3073, was one of the cleanest made, most eye appealing, deep heifer bull in the 2014 Split Diamond offering. Lot 45 was considered to be a real stand-out and ratioed over 105 for every measurable trait. Actual BW of this bull was 71, with a 741 weaning weight and 1263 yearling weight. He posted EPDs of: CED +10, BW -1.0, WW +64 and Milk +30 and a $B 77.08.

Rounding out the top 5 was Lot 18, also a SAV Final Answer 0035 son out of a Sitz Emblazon daughter who was a first-calf heifer. This stylish, long, thick, correct, balanced bull sold for $10,250 to Tyler Trager of Bainville, MT. Another sure shot heifer bull, with the top CED and lowest BW in the sale offering, weighing 68 pounds at birth, with a +13 CED and -1.9 for BW EPD. SD Final Answer 3004’s grand-dam is a Pathfinder cow with BR 7@89, WR 7@100, YR 5@104, IMF 6@104, REA 6@106. His production EPDs are: WW +61, YW +107, $F 51.94, $W 41.15 and $B 63.81 in addition to CEM +14 and Milk +28.