Weekly Genetics review: A penchant for Polls, Postponed sales & high top Prices

Genetics editor Geoff Phillips, 27/09/2016

DEMAND for DNA-tested homozygous poll bulls, record Angus prices in Queensland and elevated top prices peaking at $70,000 made last week’s bull sales exciting but also frustrating, with at least three Queensland fixtures postponed due to local flooding.

First the new dates for the postponed events. Queensland Santa Gertrudis sales Dangarfield and Wandoan were scheduled for 19 September, but are now rescheduled for this Friday 30 September at 10:30 am and 2 pm respectively.

The Clonara Droughtmaster sale at Glenmorgan was postponed from 20 September and is now on tomorrow, Wednesday 28 September.

Polled momentum grows

The trickle of demand for naturally polled cattle has developed into a steady stream with the Ascot Charolais sale last week at Warwick, QLD, coming up with proof in the form of dollars.

Ascot’s offering of 60 Charolais bulls that averaged $7534 included 19 homozygous poll bulls that averaged $11,263.

Australian Cattle and Beef Holdings bought three homozygous poll bulls, including the top priced bull at $28,000, for their bull breeding unit that services their 80,000 plus herd in northern Australia.

“They knew what they wanted – polls with specific figures,” said Ascot’s Jim Wedge.

The poll trend in Charolais has been gathering speed. In 1995 only 5pc of Charolais registrations were poll and that crept to 11pc over the next 15 years. But in the past five years registrations of poll Charolais have surged. In 2016, it is predicted the mix will be 50-50.

In 1980 soon after the European breeds arrived in Australia, 99.9pc of registered Limousins were horned. The poll variety barely existed. But the horns started to disappear. In 2009, the mix was 50-50. Today 80pc of Limousins registered in Australia are natural polls.

The tropical breeds are also trending towards polls. For example, in the Brahman breed 30pc of Reds and 10pc of Greys are now being registered as polls or scurs.

“Bull breeders are DNA testing to identify the poll gene carriers – it’s happening,” said the Brahman Breeders Association’s John Croaker.

Another trend becoming evident over the past couple of weeks is that northern sales, in general, are averaging better than the out-of-season southern spring sales.

Ascot Angus do not have to worry about horns as they do with their parallel Charolais herd.

In fact, Ascot’s Jim Wedge and Jackie Chard were ‘overwhelmed’ by the 400-plus crowd that generated the highest Angus bull average ever in Queensland ($12,604 for 53) and the second highest for the breed in Australia this year. Last year Ascot’s Angus bulls averaged just over $7000.

The top price was $70,000, the highest ever paid for an Angus bull in Queensland, for Ascot Lion Heart, an 18-month-old 6.5 frame score youngster sitting in the top 1pc of all indexes and growth EBVs.

Ascot Lion Heart sold for $70,000 last week - the highest price ever paid for an Angus in Queensland.

Ascot Lion Heart sold for $70,000 last week – the highest price ever paid for an Angus in Queensland.

The new owners are Stuart and Erica Halliday of the long established Ben Nevis stud at Walcha, NSW, and the relatively new Trio stud run by Matt Cherry and Shelly Piper, both products of the Angus Youth program.

Beef Central caught up with Erica Halliday between her judging assignments at Perth Royal on Sunday.

“We’ll use him in spring and Trio will have him for autumn joinings,” said Erica, who now runs 1000 Angus breeders.

“It’s rare to find a bull with a combination of top 1pc figures and soft skin, heavy muscling and correct structure,” she said.

Ben Nevis has used Lion Heart’s sire, Ascot Hallmark, and will use their new sire over Aryvale Bartell daughters to give the progeny a “little more thickness.”

Earlier this month Ben Nevis sold 75 yearling bulls to a top of $26,000 and an average of $8180.

Other sale highlights from last week:

  • Glenlands Droughtmasters, Bouldercome, Qld – 165/165 bulls av $9903 top $60,000. 12 reg’d females av $6250 top $10,500, 182 purebred females av $1323. Total gross $1.95m.
  • Performance Plus Droughtmasters, Eskdale, Qld – 59/59 av $7398 top $30,000
  • Santa Central, Nobby, Qld – 78/108 av $10,269 top $50,000 twice
  • Rosevale Santa Gertrudis, Jandowae, Qld – 148/151 av $8980 top $40,000. The 88 ‘S’ bulls av $10,640.




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