TURBO-charged bidding has propelled the Yarrawonga Waco Santa Gertrudis stud to its highest sale average in history.
Buyers at Australia's largest Santa Gertrudis sale at Wallumbilla last Thursday, cleared 174 lots at an average of $7170, edging out the $7122 average the Bassingthwaighte family achieved at their record-breaking 50th anniversary sale in 2009 and easily eclipsing last year's result by $696.
A jubilant stud principal, Alastair Bassingthwaighte, who watched proceedings from the auctioneers' rostrum while his sons David and Andrew worked the sale ring, said the buying trend this year was dominated by seedstock producers intent on paying bigger money for premium genetics, while commercial producers compiling volume lines of quality herd improvers underpinned the depth of the catalogue until the very last lot.
"It was a very solid sale and I was particularly pleased with the support of our repeat buyers and especially the number of new buyers here," Mr Bassingthwaighte said.
"The word about our quality cattle is definitely spreading further every year, about the cattle's thickness, soft muscling, fat cover and quiet temperament, and they've turned up today to not only take a look but also take bulls home.
"As is always the case, the soft, big-bodied meaty looking bulls were the quickest to disappear."
In a sale loaded with milestones and new industry benchmarks, some of the major highlights included:
The $46,000 top price paid by Winton couple Ken and Alex Sorensen, for the first lot of the day, Waco Big Ben G548 (P).
WA buyer Bill Sounness, Merryup, Mt Barker paying the sale's second top price of $45,000 for Yarrawonga Buchanan, a polled ET son of South African imported ET sire Waco Springbok, whose progeny were available for the first time.
A massive offering of 145 classified bulls selling to an average of $7569, while 29 commercial bulls sold to a $5172 average.
The first 15 lots averaging $11,100 and the first 25 lots $9760.
Winton Santa Gertrudis seedstock and commercial breeders Ken and Alex Sorensen were ecstatic with their first major investment in slect Yarrawonga Waco genetics after establishing their Landsborough stud at Teviot Station 18 months ago.
They were pushed all the way to secure the day's sale-topper by underbidder Alan Martin, who has recently expanded his Riverslea Group Santa Gertrudis stud in Maryborough, northern Victoria to Fish Ponds at Delungra in NSW with his wife Sonia.
He said the polled Waco Big Ben, the third heaviest in the draft at 1065 kg and with a scrotal of 43cm, an EMA of 130 sq cm and 13/8 P8 and rib, was a standout prospect, but budget constraints forced him to pull up at $44,000.
"He is without a doubt the best Santa Gertrudis bull I have seen all year and, to be honest, I thought he would go a little higher," he said.
Mr Martin was soon after successful in securing Yarrawonga Astro P, by a polled Yarrawonga sire and out of a highly fertile Yarrawonga cow for $18,000.
The elated Sorensens, who brand 1000 calves a year for the grainfed domestic trade and started their stud with about 130 foundation heifers from the now dispersed Tara stud at Barcaldine last year, came looking for sires to accelerate their herd improvement plans, eventually finishing with a line of four head for a total outlay of $69,000.
"We've only ever bought paddock bulls from Yarrawonga, but this year we came with the intention to buy the best to lift performance and genetic quality," Mrs Sorensen said. "We'll get the bulls home to acclimatise them and then run them with our top females from March to May next year."
Other buyers investing heavily in top line sires were:
Robyn Sargood, Manresa Station, Augathella who bought the sale's third top price Waco Artie (P) for $34,000, spending $55,000 in total for three bulls.
The Atkinson family, Cardona, Blackwater who paid $26,000 for polled ET 19 month old Yarrawonga Bushman.
Russell Pearson, Bull Creek, Cloncurry who bought polled 24 month old Yarrawonga Bowman for $26,000.
John Howard, Burleigh Estates, Biloela who paid $20,000 for Yarrawonga Bentley, a 24 month old son of Waco Xman which had one of the largest EMA measurements in the draft of 136 cm sq.
Ian Walker, Strathmore stud, Ravensbourne, Blackall who bought Yarrawonga Abraham, a poll scurred son of Waco Samson, one of the stud's most prolific sires, for $24,000.
Volume buyers included:
Gladys Downs Pastoral Co, Augathella, who bought 10 head for $49,500
Bylot Plains Partnership, Injune who bought 10 head for $43,500
Cattle Downs Pastoral Co, Wandoan, who bought 8 head for $26,000
Harry Bode, Woura Park, Torrens Creek, 7 head for $52,000
Roberts Grazing Co, Springsure 6 head for $37,500 * Agents: Elders and Landmark.
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