Weekly genetics review: Whiteface records tumble as early spring bull sales take off

Genetics Central editor, Geoff Phillips, 26/07/2016

Spring bull sales for 2016 are off to a flying start, with averages at two on-property Hereford bull sales last week heading north of the $10,000 mark, in a week that had agents and vendors reaching for the record books.

The buying frenzy peaked at the Peake family’s Bowen Herefords sale at Barraba, NSW, where 57 Poll Hereford bulls topped at $70,000 and averaged $11,702 – the best-ever whiteface on-property average in the history of the breed in Australia.

Bowen’s average was up $4000 on last year’s sale, with the top price selling to the Holcombe family, Rayleigh Herefords, Walgett, NSW.

Registered Poll Hereford cows on Cascade Stud, Currabubula, NSW. This year's sale was the stud's best ever, producing a total clearance of 33 poll bulls averaging $9879.

Registered Poll Hereford cows at Cascade Stud, Currabubula, NSW. This year’s sale was the stud’s best ever, producing a total clearance of 33 poll bulls averaging $9879.

The same owners’ Peakes Angus bull sale also drew strong demand with 62 bulls selling to $30,000 and averaging $10,413. The top selling Angus went to the Durkin family’s Mountain Valley Angus at Coolatai, NSW.

The other sale to push its average into the rare five-figure range last week was Merewah Poll Herefords at Boggabilla, NSW, where 41 bulls averaged $10,024. The result was generated by sustained demand throughout, and achieved with a top price of only $20,000.

Just under the five-figure average was Cascade Poll Herefords on July 20, where 33 bulls sold to $16,000 and averaged $9879. Cascade’s Angus offering topped at $18,000 and averaged $8639 for 36.

Not far behind during an exciting week of selling was Tycolah where 54 Poll Hereford bulls sold to $28,000 and averaged $8611, up 25pc on last year’s average.

The reinvigorated whiteface market was not unexpected as the bar was set very high at the Dubbo multi-vendor sale last month, when 77 bulls averaged $11,853.

Last week the top four Poll Hereford sales (Bowen, Merewah, Cascade and Tycolah) offered and sold 185 bulls for a $10,103 average. All achieved 100pc clearances.

Angus swung into action earlier today (Tuesday) with Greg and Sally Chappell’s Dulverton sale at Glen Innes, NSW. They also cleared 100pc of the 74 bulls offered for an average of $7047, achieved with a top of only $14,000. This was up almost 10pc up on the previous year’s average.

“A good, strong, solid value sale which reflected the strength of the market, with nothing silly,” said Dulverton’s auctioneer Shad Bailey of Colin Say & Co.

“Those with cow numbers are looking for bulls with good EMA and IMF EBVs and they found them at Dulverton,” he said.

Big contrast seen in early spring sale results

While the commercial cattle industry is on a high with recent record cattle prices, it is worth pointing out that there are some recent bull sales that have not reached these dizzy heights.

Certainly the ‘A list’ bull breeders with a strong bull-buyer following, solid marketing campaigns, and strong utilisation of performance recording – backing-up their bulls with strong customer service and guarantees – have enjoyed a great start.

Lesser-known studs still trying to make a name have in many cases recorded moderate results this month.

Poll trend continues in whiteface

One of the trends that is emerging in the whiteface industry is the move towards poll  breeding.

It wasn’t so long ago that Poll Herefords were considered inferior to their horned cousins. The commercial industry sent a clear message to seedstock producers that they wanted natural polls, and the smart seedstock producers followed that lead. If in fact the poll versions were inferior, the progressive seedstock producers took measures to sort that out.

The bull selling season gathers momentum in the coming weeks as early Queensland sales start appearing on the calendar. Between now and the end of July, 23 bull sales are listed. There are no less than nine sales on July 29 alone, and six the next day, July 30.

Let’s hope Landmark’s John Settree was on the money when he predicted last week that demand would increase as the spring series progressed. His advice to buyers was “get in early.”


  • For Genetics Central’s comprehensive list of upcoming bull sales click here. For results of recently completed bull sales, click here.






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  1. Natasha Wing, 27/07/2016

    It is great to see cattle prices starting to reflect the hard work the industry is doing. I thought it was worth mentioning the Truro Hereford sale results from this week. Whilst the clearance rate and averages may not have matched the above mentioned studs, Scott and Pip Hann have done an outstanding job on their bulls. Their focus on improving EBVs for improved meat yield and quality is evident in their line-up with EMA figures over 5 for many of their bulls. They are worth contacting for anyone looking for quiet quality bulls that aren’t full of grain and are ready to work!

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