Doc Ryan is a 3-year-old Angus bull that sold at auction for $525,000 in 2021 and now earns more than $1 million per year.
And his genetics are so sought after that one of his offspring sold at auction last week while still in the womb. The heifer, which won’t draw its first breath of fresh air until March, sold for $140,000.
Doc Ryan produces about 200 straws (each enough to inseminate one cow) of semen each week that sell for $100 each. That’s just over $1 million per year in earnings. If he were a human, Doc Ryan would be in the top 5% of U.S. earners.
In other words, he’s a four-legged baller who makes awesomesauce for a living, and he doesn’t even have opposable thumbs. He’s arguably one of the most valuable animals on the planet.
Wyoming ‘Wow’ Factor
The in-utero heifer, along with 260 other Doc Ryan-bred cows, sold at auction recently for an average of $4,553 each, said Trey Wasserburger, owner of TD Angus in North Platte, Nebraska.
Wasserburger is a cattle rancher from Gillette who raised Doc Ryan from birth and named the bull after friend and mentor Ryan Neiman of Hulett. Neiman died in 2020.
Wasserburger moved to North Platte, Nebraska, and bought the TD Angus Ranch in 2017.
People who know cattle genetics know Doc Ryan is a standout. “Wow,” is the word most often heard when people see him for the first time, Wasserburger said.
“It’s like seeing a pro football player when you walk into a restaurant or an airport,” Wasserburger said. “When you see an NFL guy you just know it. They look like athletes and that’s what makes this bull stand out.”
Wasserburger sold Doc Ryan as a yearling to Herbster Angus Farm near Falls City, Nebraska, in 2021. The farm owns several high-end Angus bulls and anyone who wants to geek out over cattle genetics, learn more about the beef seedstock industry and its own unique verbiage can do that at its website.
A ‘Generational’ Bull
If muscles are what you’re looking for in a bull, Doc Ryan is all that. He doesn’t have much in the way of a neck, his ears basically blend into his shoulders.
In a video recorded when Doc Ryan was sold (see above), auctioneer Greg Goggins described the bull as “a powerful, powerful individual, one of the generational bulls of my lifetime in the Angus cattle business.”
Doc Ryan is the son of a first-calf heifer and weighed 918 pounds as a yearling.
Regarding the in-utero heifer calf that Wasserburger sold last week, he said an ultrasound was conducted to determine the calf’s sex. The calf was bought by two buyers who paid $70,000 each, he said.
The Nov. 10 auction drew about 200 people and was livestreamed by Superior Livestock Auctions. People from Australia and the United Kingdom viewed it. The cattle were sold to people from 20 states, but there were no international sales, Wasserburger said.
When Wasserburger sold Doc Ryan, he made a deal with the new owners that he can continue to use the bull’s semen and buy it at cost. He said Doc Ryan has his semen extracted twice each week and generates 100 units each time. That’s enough to impregnate 200 cows per week.
Semen extraction and artificial insemination is relatively new to the beef cattle industry and is mostly used by seedstock breeders. Some large commercial beef herds are adopting the technology, but most small ranchers still use range bulls for breeding. The technology was developed in the 1930s for horses and soon spread into the dairy industry, where most of the breeding is done artificially.
Wasserburger also is part of a new producer-owned beef packing plant that is under construction near North Platte. He said about 20 feedlots joined together to build the $400 million plant, and it will take about two more years to complete the construction.
Walmart is a minority owner in the project, called Sustainable Beef LLC, and will market the company’s product. The 500,000-square-foot plant will process about 1,500 cattle per day.