A South Australian bull created a bidding frenzy in the sale barn at the 58th Herefords Australia National Sale to sell for the top price of $75,000.
Held at the Wodonga Exhibition Centre on Thursday, May 11, the sale was southern Australia’s single biggest multi-vendor British bred offering with 53 vendors from NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Drawing 149 registered buyers, the sale resulted in a total of 121 bulls selling under the hammer from the 160 offered for a clearance of 75 per cent, a top price of $75,000, an average of $11,917 and gross of $1,442,000.
Celebrating 96 years of performance breeding, Ian and Anne Galloway, Cootharaba Herefords, Roma, Queensland, outbid a New England syndicate to secure Lot 55 Wild Bear Stranger S007 (AI) (H) for $75,000.
The 22-month-old bull was offered by Ben and Katelin Davies, Wild Bear Herefords, Paris Creek, SA, and was a homebred bull by Wild Bear Powerhouse P010 and out of Wild Bear Angeline N005
Stranger weighed 856kg, had a raw scan of 124sqcm on the eye muscle area, 19mm of fat on the rump, 10mm on the rib and a scrotal circumference of 42cm. On BREEDPLAN, the bull ranked top 6 per cent for eye muscle area at +6.3, top 15 per cent for 600-day weight and intramuscular fat at +1.3 per cent.
Ian Galloway said the bull fitted the Cootharaba program as an outcross bloodline coupled with his thickness, muscle, skin type and eye pigment.
He spotted Stranger in the ring the day before, liking his figures for eye muscle area and gestation length, and the fact his grandsire, Glendan Park Empire E002, was purchased by Cootharaba in the past.
With his meat processing background, vendor Ben Davies breeds for performance, doing ability, carcase merit and eating quality. He had collected semen from the bull prior to the sale, with 110 retained for inherd use and 10 females joined – 200 straws were offered with the bull.
“We have been breeding stud cattle for just over 10 years now – it is my passion and it is very rewarding to have a day like this come along,” Mr Davies said.
“We bred the sire and dam of this bull so are starting to see our genetics flow through from our own program.
“We are proud for our bull to go into such a prestigious program in Queensland.”
James and Melinda Higgins, Curracabark Herefords, Gloucester, NSW, returned to the sale after many years break to outlay $60,000 for the second top price bull, Lot 163, Mawarra Valley S198 (AI) (PP), offered by the Sykes family, Mawarra Genetics, Longford, Victoria.
Sired by Kanimbla Power Town P067, the 23-month-old had been sashed as reserve intermediate champion bull, weighed 972kg, and scanned at 147sqcm eye muscle area, 21mm on the rump, 12mm on the rib and a scrotal of 39cm. On BREEDPLAN, he ranked top 1 per cent for retail beef yield, top 2 per cent eye muscle area, top 5 per cent carcase weight, top 8 per cent for 600-day weight and top 4 per cent for milk.
Valley is an outcross for Curracabark and will be used over the stud polled cows.
“I liked his length, visual muscle, accuracy through the hock angle, and the combination of quality and data,” James Higgins said.
“The cattle that will take the breed forward genetically were rewarded today.”
Chris Lisle, Tummel Herefords, Walcha, NSW, paid the third highest price of $45,000 for the grand champion bull Glendan Park Soprano S115 (AI) (PP) from Alvio Trovatello, Glendan Park Herefords, Kyneton, Vic.
Sired by Allendale Jackal P176, the 24-month-old bull weighed 1010kg, and scanned with a 141sqcm eye muscle, 17mm on the rump, 10mm on the rib and a 41cm scrotal. He ranks in the top 1 per cent for carcase weight and 600-day weight, and top 2 per cent for 400-day weight.
Mr Lisle liked the bull’s overall quality, softness, carcase, moderate birthweight, and intramuscular fat.
Scott Reardon, Rockford Pty Ltd, Bothwell, Tasmania, paid the top price for a commercial producer of $42,000 for Mawarra Kentucky Bourbon S281 (H) from Mawarra Genetics, Longford.
The 22-month-old bull weighed 1002kg, scanned with an eye muscle area of 132sqcm, 14mm of rump fat and 8mm on the rib, and had a scrotal of 44cm.
Sired by Sugarloaf Nowra N124, the bull ranked top 3 per cent for carcase weight at +75kg, top 1 per cent for retail beef yield at +2.6 and top 5 per cent for 600-day weight.
Mr Reardon was impressed with the length, muscling, pedigree and BREEDPLAN figures.
He had purchased Mawarra stud females and will use the bull over them as a bull breeding nucleus. The family runs a commercial herd of around 300 breeding females.
Mr Reardon had received the champion pen for his six to nine-month-old purebred steer weaners at the Hereford feature weaner sale at Powranna in 2023. The top pen of July-August drop calves weighed 409kg and sold for $1900 or 464c/kg to repeat buyers Steve and Anne Ward, West Kentish, Tasmania, for grass fed programs. The Rockford heifers weighed 295kg and topped the market at $1740.
Mawarra Genetics continued its successful run with senior champion Mawarra Vice Admiral S081 (AI) (PP) and stablemate Mawarra Knight Rider S137 (AI) (ET) (H) both selling for $28,000.
Commercial Hereford producer Robert Reid, Reid Trust, Howlong, bought Knight Rider, a 26-month-old son of Mawarra Hugo P190 with a weight of 992kg, an eye muscle of 136sqcm, and top 5 per cent for retail beef yield.
The 27-month-old, 1024kg Vice Admiral was bought by Andrew and Serena Klippel, Sugarloaf Creek Herefords, Towong, Victoria.
Andrew and Vanessa Schwarz, Oak Downs Poll Herefords, Bordertown, SA, paid $26,000 for Mawarra Vodka S036 (PP), a 26-month-old, 1036kg son of Mawarra Showtime P277 from the Mawarra Genetics stable. The bull ranked top 1 per cent for eye muscle area, carcase weight, and retail beef yield.
Andrew Mackay, Merawah Herefords, Boggabilla, and Hunter Lakes Poll Herefords, Richmond Vale, NSW, partnered to secure Truro Spartacus S135 (AI) (PP) from first time Wodonga National vendors Scott and Pip Hann, Truro Whiteface, Bellata, NSW, for $25,000.
The 23-month-old son of US sire Churchill Gunpowder 657D weighed 924kg and ranked top 7 per cent for 400- and 600-day weight, and retail beef yield, and top 5 per cent for carcase weight.
Tom and Sophie Holt, Coonong, Urana, outlaid $24,000 for Kirraweena Silver Fern (AI (H) from Geoff and Heather Bush, Glenholme/Kirraween Herefords, Cootamundra, NSW. The 24-month-old son of US sire Pute Nascar N13, Silver Fern weighed 896kg with an eye muscle of 125sqcm
Ken and Liz Ikin, Cloverlee Poll Herefords, Bannister, NSW, partnered with David and Janelle Manwarring, Rose View Herefords, Cootamundra, NSW, to pay $24,000 for Mawarra Ventriloquist S197 (AI) (PP). The 23-month-old son of Mawarra Terminator Q274 weighed 1008kg, scanned with an eye muscle of 136sqcm and ranked top 3 per cent for eye muscle area and carcase weight.
Among the volume buyers were David Phelan, Phelan & Henderson & Co, Leongatha, Vic, paying to $22,000 for three bulls for clients, Bill and Kathy Lambert, Taronga Poll Herefords, Paschendale, Vic, bought two bulls to a top of $12,000, J, S & W Webb, Adelong, NSW, bought three bulls to $10,000, Lucy McEarchern, Spring Run Herefords, Wingeel, Vic, two bulls to $14,000, and Peter and Christine Faithfull, Omeo, two bulls to $20,000.
The bulls offered were required to meet strict criteria including DNA testing for sire verification and genomics, performance recorded with BREEDPLAN, tested free of all known genetic conditions, semen quality tested, Pestivirus-free and independently vet inspected to boost buyer confidence.
Herefords Australia National Show and Sale Wodonga committee chairman Alvio Trovatello said the sale was well supported by commercial producers and buoyed by strong seedstock support.
“We did expect a drop in clearance given the extra number of bulls – we normally sell 105 bulls and this year we had 195 entered with 160 offered on the day,” Mr Trovatello said.
“With the 75 per cent clearance the average is down but it is relative to the 2023 weaner steer prices of $1500 as opposed to $2300 last year.
“The average and clearance this year was expected – we sold 121 compared to last year 108 – with a good spread of buyers from Queensland to South Australia and Tasmania.
“Repeat buyers from the Victorian high country and western Victoria were active.
“When buyers pay $42,000 for a bull to use in a commercial program that tells you a lot about the confidence in the breed.”
Mr Trovatello said the committee consistently aimed to improve on the proven formula for the event and to have it as a great representation of the breed.
“As a committee we aim for the best result for buyers and vendors alike, and the dinner is a success at bringing the Hereford family together for networking and socialising – that is an envy of a lot of breeds.
“Other breeds have tried it and we are one of the last ones standing, and we are successful at it.”
Selling agents were Elders and Nutrien Ag Solutions with the sale interfaced with AuctionsPlus.