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Bull season: How the breeds finished

Jon Condon, 07/12/2011

The tropically-adapted Droughtmaster breed took the honours in recording the Australian beef industry’s highest average breed price for 2011, among the six or seven largest breeds employed within the industry.

To be fair though, it was a very close race – perhaps the closest ever seen in the seedstock sector, with no less than four breeds finishing within $82 of each other in terms of national breed average price. Number of bulls sold, which obviously can have a direct influence on price, is discussed elsewhere in this report.

The Droughtmaster breed’s season-topping average price of $5329 for 2134 bulls sold was a new breed season record. The figure was up 15pc from last year’s average of $4509, with just 36 less bulls sold, countering some of the arguments about Indicus bias caused by MSA and live export problems. The auction clearance of Droughtmaster bulls at 94 percent was also the second highest on record, eclipsed only by the exceptional 96pc result seen in 2001.

Filling second place this year, in what some may see as a surprising outcome, was Herefords (horned and polled) which this year recorded a national average price of $5300, up a hefty 21pc on last year’s result of $4373.  Bull numbers sold also showed strong growth, rising 11pc to 3010 bulls from 2617 last year.

Placing third was Angus, logging an average price of $5265, an 11pc rise on last year’s $4686. Numbers sold eased a little to 6408 from last year’s 6684, and was well back from the all-time record turnover recorded in 2006 of 7544 bulls sold.

Next best was Santa Gertrudis, successfully marketing 2128 bulls this year for an average auction price of $5247 – still within $82 of the 2011 top average set by Droughtmaster cattle, making this the most evenly distributed bull season result ever seen.  

Shorthorn bull breeders also notched-up another strong year, marketing 735 bulls through the auction system for an average price of $4717.     

Given that the breed was easily the most heavily exposed to the Indonesian live export crisis, which erupted just weeks before the start of spring bull selling season, the Brahman 2011 result was remarkable, averaging $4589 for 2656 bulls sold at auction. The average price was up $160 or 3.5pc on last year, while numbers sold eased just 143. More discussion on this elsewhere in this report.  

While complete national Charolais results were not available from the Charolais Society at the time this report was compiled yesterday, a sample was taken of 15 prominent breed auction sales in order to generate a 'representative' average price for the breed. That figure came back at $5336, for 705 bulls sold this year. Given that there was an estimated 1100-1200 Charolais bulls sold at auction in 2011, it is inevitable that the inclusion of results from less prominent sales would reduce that average price significantly, relative to other breeds. The Charolais Society estimates that the overall breed figure this year would probably come back to $4500.

Limousin seedstock producers enjoyed another solid trading year, marketing 568 bulls at auction to average $4519, a substantial 18pc rise on results last year when 620 bulls averaged $3714.  

See today's companion story, "2011 bull selling season: how the big breeds sold", and commentary later today from key seedstock personnel.

  • All figures extracted from records provided by breed society personnel. See separate article discussing numbers sold and other aspects of the 2011 bull season.

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