IOA Th« N«w«. TUM.. Nov. o, used to sell cattle More than 300,000 head of cattle offered via videotapes T FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Without even leaving home, it takes only a flick of the switch for a cattle buyer to receive as many cattle as his wallet can handle. - Nowadays, cattlemen are shopping for their livestock via videotapes. Instead of traveling miles to attend livestock auctions, cattle buyers can see more cattle on videotapes in a few hours than they used to in a month's time. A quick telephone bid to Superior Livestock Auction can result in millions oi 'dollars changing hands. More than 300,000 cattle have been offered to buyers across the country via video tapes by Superior with offices in Fort Worth Stockyards and Colorado. "It's just like watching a football game," said Superior co-owner Jim Odle. "You can see what's happening better on video film than if you're there." Ken Betschart, assistant manager of Grant County Feeder in Ulysses, Kan., is a regular buyer with Superior. His television set gives him access to thousands of head of cattle for sale from ranches in the Rocky Mountains to the Florida Panhandle. "If you had told me years ago that cattle would be sold on television, I would have thought you were crazy," Betschart said. "But I sure think it's a good way to buy cattle." Since Odle and Buddy Jeffers formed Superior in January, the concept of video auctions has been accepted by buyers and sellers. Auctions have ranged from 18,000 to 45,000 head of cattle. "The whole concept made sense to me," Jeffers said. "But it was hard to break a cattle business tradition." But the tradition of live auctions has its disadvantages. Diseases are spread in the auction ring, and cattle lose weight en route. Also, sellers often have to transport the animals back home if prices are too low. The Fort Worth-based Texas Livestock Marketing Association held its first video livestock auction in August, and so far more than 12,000 cattle have been sold. Jim Simons, company vice president, said he was skeptical initially. "I wasn't that enthused about it," Simons said. "But the buyers and sellers like it," he told the Dallas Morning News. So far, only a small percentage of the nation's 100 million cattle is sold through video auctions. Live auctions sold more than 47 million cattle in 1985. "They're the way of the future for ranchers with enough cattle," said Carlton Eckert, co-owner of Ennis Livestock Auction. "They will never put the small auction out of business because there are too many Texans who only own a few head." Eckert said.