The Hereford breed stamped its dominance in the market posting a thumping top price of $130,000 and a new record average of $15,794 at the 57th Herefords Australia National Show and Sale.
Held on May 12 at Wodonga, the National Sale drew buyers from NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, and Queensland, and was interfaced with AuctionsPlus.
Billed as one of the largest multi-vendor sales in southern Australia, it catered for 34 vendors from four states.
Overall, 102 bulls sold from the 106 offered for a 96 per cent clearance, gross of $1,611,000 and average of $15,794.
In the sale breakdown, a total of 59 junior bulls sold to a top of $35,000 and average of $12,847 while 43 senior bulls sold to a top of $130,000 and average of $19,837.
Creating plenty of excitement in the sale barn was Mawarra Ultra Star R182 selling for a new record top price of $130,000 to Tom Nixon, Devon Court Herefords, Drillham, Queensland.
The price eclipsed the previous top of $103,000 set in 2021 by Mawarra If Only Q264.
The 24-month-old Mawarra Ultra Star R182 by US sire Endure 173D was sold by Peter and Deanne Sykes, Mawarra Genetics, Longford, Victoria, and had been sashed as the intermediate champion bull and then eventually grand champion by judge Steve Reid the day before.
Weighing 1004kg, Ultra Star had BREEDPLAN figures of +123kg for 600-day weight, +27kg for milk, +82kg for carcase weight, and +8.6sqcm for eye muscle area.
Mr Nixon confirmed the New Zealand semen rights were sold to the Robbie family, Otapawa Herefords, NZ.
He had a strategic plan to buy two full brothers and had earlier paid $35,000 for the top price bull at Mawarra’s on-property sale, Mawarra Ultimate R140, partnering with Cascade Poll Herefords, Currabubula, NSW.
“We will have a multi-sire joining to the stud cows this year to those two bulls, on top of an AI program using our new Canadian sire KJ Medium, which just sold for CAN$240,000 – we partnered with Otapawa for Australian semen rights,” Mr Nixon said.
“It was phenotype and pedigree first (with Ultra Star) – breed leading data sets with top one per cent most of the way through with moderate birthweight, calving ease, EMA (eye muscle area), fat and IMF (intramuscular fat).”
Vendors Peter and Deanne Sykes were overwhelmed and humbled by the result.
“The outlook for the breed is great with people willing to spend money on good genetics with the right traits,” Mr Sykes said.
“Our grass-fed markets are going well for Herefords and the cattle sold today certainly had those carcase traits and doing ability Herefords are known for.”
It was a day full of emotion for vendor Andrew Green, Yarrandabbie Herefords, Barfold, Vic, when his bull Yarrandabbie Richard R004, named in honour of his late father, Dick Green, sold for the second top price of $70,000 to Marc Greening, Injemira Genetics, Book Book, NSW.
The 23-month-old bull had been sashed as reserve intermediate champion and was sired by Glendan Park Panama P004.
On BREEDPLAN, the young sire had a birthweight of +5kg, milk of +22kg, carcase weight of +65kg and eye muscle area of +5.9sqcm.
Mark and Wendy Campion, Amos Vale Herefords, Pinkett, NSW, outlaid the third top price of $60,000 for Mawarra Justify R265, a 23-month-old son of Mawarra Evolution weighing 890kg from the Sykes family stable.
Mr Campion said the bull ticked all the boxes a Hereford sire required.
“Overall, he was a beautifully balanced bull with good structure, a tonne of depth, good length and massive figures,” Mr Campion said.
“We have used Mawarra before and moving forward our mission would be to use him over Yarram Park and Newcomen females.
“As far as weaner prices go, everything is just brilliant with all our clients benefitting from that and the back-to-back seasons.
“It is really good for the rural sector after such a hammering during the drought years, and it looks like we might have three good seasons in a row.
“That puts confidence back into everything and that leads into this industry, and it is showing here today.
“This sale is totally underpinned by commercial and stud buyers.”
Andrew Hore, Rotherfield Poll Herefords, Mullengandra, paid $50,000 for Glendan Park Regal R016 offered by Alvio Trovatello, Glendan Park Herefords, Kyneton, Vic.
The 25-month-old bull was by Glendan Park Panama P004, weighed 904kg, had a raw eye muscle scan of 128sqcm, a birthweight estimated breeding value of +4.5, carcase weight of +70kg and eye muscle area of +6.1sqcm.
Phil “Bluey” Commins, Nunniong Herefords, Ensay, outlaid $38,000 for Hollow Point R024, a son of Yavenvale M446 and with an EBV of +108kg for 600-day weight, +24kg for milk and +66 for carcase weight. The bull was sold by Alex Townsend, Hollow Point Herefords, Tinderbox, Tasmania.
The commercial producers entered the bidding at $35,000 with Hunt Agriculture, Moree, NSW, taking home Mawarra Union Pacific R424, a Koanui Techno 3062 son from the Sykes family.
Pat, James and Nikki Pearce, Yavenvale Herefords and Poll Herefords, Adelong, NSW, purchased Morganvale Rookie R306 for $34,000 from Allan Morgan, Morganvale Herefords, Keith, SA.
Among the volume commercial buyers on the day was Scott Reardon, Rockford Pty Ltd, Bothwell, Tasmania, with Mawarra Jackaroo R262 for $22,000, Hollow Point Redneck R017 for $20,000 and Mawarra Jupiter R044 for $24,000.
Mr Reardon was investing in genetics after selling 170 steers (top pen was 457kg) and 49 heifer weaners at Powranna for an overall average of $2175.
“I like good meaty cattle without being extreme. I like the Hereford’s temperament, growth, carcase, calving ease and doing ability,” he said.
Herefords Australia National Show and Sale (Wodonga) committee chairman Alvio Trovatello described the event as a “great outcome and clearance”.
“Elite stud sires were making record prices and very good top end commercial sires sold well,” Mr Trovatello said.
“It was good to see the strong commercial support with repeat buyers and quite a few people bidding online.
“The social aspect is a big part of it – it’s a big few days on the Hereford calendar.
“Since COVID has come and gone people have really been looking forward to the event this year with a different level of optimism off the back of strong cattle prices and the season.”
Stud stock agent Peter Godbolt, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Albury, said commercial producers paid $25,000 to $30,000 for bulls while studs operated at the top end.
“Off the back of the weaner sales through January and in the mountains in March, buyers were getting good money for their calves and were willing to invest in the genetics – it was a credit to the breeders what they are doing for their commercial clients,” Mr Godbolt said.
“With a new record top price for Wodonga – it was good to see the breeders getting rewarded for what they do, and the Hereford breed getting recognised within the industry.”
Mr Godbolt said online buyers bid on around half the catalogue.