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Dairy Goat Auctions Prove Successful

By Alan Harman

With two successful auctions under their belts, organizers of the Central States Dairy Goat Production Sale say the event now is a permanent feature.

David Borkholder, one of the promoters, said the event will be held twice a year—in January and September—at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Washington, Iowa, 110 miles east of Des Moines.

The auction is organized by a local committee made up of some of the 60 goat dairy operators in the area.

“We agreed we needed an auction to sell excess quality animals rather than use brokers,” Borkholder said. Breeders can bring qualities stock and sell to commerce dairies that want to upgrade. Commercial operators who want to buy a semi load can do so as well.”

Borkholder said a lot of thought went into the name so that it would attract attention in the region’s dairy goat industry.

“The target audience is in Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin,” he said.

The two auctions are the only ones of their size in the U.S. that specialize in high-production, registered and graded dairy bucks, does and doelings.

Smaller “spotlight” sales usually offer only 15 to 30 dairy goats on consignment, he said.

“We are focusing on quality,” Borkholder said. “These auctions offer an excellent opportunity to buy and sell.”

The first auction, held last September, attracted 190 people and saw $105,000 change hands for 810 goats.

The January event earned $132,000 from just 476 goats as the organizers focused on high production quality registered and graded dairy bucks, does and doelings.

The event attracted 125 buyers from as far away as Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin who at times bid more than $1,000 each for some of the goats on offer.

The pens included Alpine, Saanen, Toggeburg, Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf and Sable dairy goats.

The top buck sold for $1,300, with the top bred doe going for $1,050. Bred commercial first-year doelings sold for $200 to $300.

Most of the goats offered came from Iowa, and Borkholder said some of the buyers from Indiana and Ohio are starting herds where a market for dairy goat products is just beginning.

A buyer from Kentucky was seeking top quality does for embryo transplants.

The plan is to stage the first auction each year on the last Tuesday in January, with the September event set for the second Tuesday in the month.

The two events are being held through Fox Auction Services (660-341-1453) and organizers need two months’ notice of consignments to allow for catalog planning and auction timetables.

Auctioneer Alan (Junior) Fox said he was surprised at the immediate success of the first two auctions.

“The first one was very good and the second one even better,” he said. “The organizers have timed it right with auctions right before kidding. I can see these two auctions becoming permanent events.”

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