Itching to buy something

Why do itches always materialise at the most inopportune moments?

Say, for example, you’re at the annual Black Friday Aberdeen Angus sale. All around you are stetson-wearing farmers tugging at their ears or tapping their noses as a sign that they want to buy the 30 steers in the pen in front of you.

Suddenly you develop an overwhelming urge to scratch your ear. Scared that any movement will leave you going home with a load of cattle, you try to ignore it.

Of course trying to ignore it only intesifies the feeling that you have hundreds of ants crawling around on your head, so you try to judge how best to go about alleviating the problem. Do you put your hand up slowly in the hope that the auctioneers will realise you’re not placing a covert bid and point you out?

Do you try to move quickly in the hope you’ll be too fast for them to notice?

Probably either of those would be better than the ‘press yourself against the cattle pen out of their line of sight’ technique, which is how I came home with my trousers covered in cow muck.

Brad and Jan had taken me along to the sale with their stock consultant Rob to check out some Angus heifers and calves.
They are trying to improve the genetics of their herd by weeding out the crosses and breeding straight Angus, hopefully improving the quality of the cattle and eventually creating their own Aingarth Angus line.

The dilema they have at the moment is with so much feed wheat and silage available because of the wet weather, they could easily buy a few steers to finish on the farm and sell next year. But finishing cattle goes against their principle of building a herd and improving quality.

Quite a few farmers obviously have the same idea of making use of the surplus feed, so prices are starting to creep up for the better-quality cows.

It’s a good job I didn’t manage to make a bid, as none of the cows met Brad’s specifications. It would’ve been hard enough getting a steer back home, but wedging a poorer-quality one in my hire care just wouldn’t have been worth the effort…

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