Commercial and seedstock producers have gone on a spending spree in the past fortnight, outlaying $3.7 million on over 500 Hereford bulls to a thumping top of $110,000 around the nation.
In a span of just 10 days, 551 polled and horned bulls have been sold from 623 offered for an 88 per cent clearance at on-property and multi-vendor sales across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
The overall average for the sale period of February 18 to 26 was $6785 for a gross of $3.74 million.
Reiterating the confidence in the breed was the $110,000 paid for a polled sire at one of Australia’s biggest whiteface sales, Injemira Beef Genetics, in southern NSW.
Injemira Anzac K220, an 18-month-old son of influential sire Allendale Anzac E114 (P), was secured in a bidding war with South Australia stud Minlacowie by Brian Burgess, Holbrook, for his Ravensdale Poll Hereford stud.
The bull, described by vendor Marc Greening as a “real curve bender’’, was offered as lot three and set the sale ring abuzz.
The on-property sale, held at Book Book on February 23, resulted in a total clearance of 91 bulls for an average of $9632 – up from $8217 last year – and setting the benchmark for on-property sale averages in 2016.
The second top price over the 10-day period was $21,000 achieved at Yavenvale Herefords and Poll Herefords, Adelong, NSW.
Yavenvale also offered the biggest number of bulls at 106 for a 100 per cent clearance.
Despite horrific seasonal conditions in South Australia, agents have been amazed at clearances at the whiteface sales during February.
The combined Days Whiteface and Allendale sales at Bordertown led the charge with 78 bulls sold from 78 offered to a top of $17,000 and average of $8218.
The Oakdown and Kerlson Pines 5th annual combined sale went on to top at $19,000.
Lachy Day, Days Whiteface, said good seasonal conditions in central Australia resulted in Todd River Station, Alice Springs, buying 15 bulls to a top of $7000 and average of $5700.
“We sold 19 bulls in the $10,000-$17,000 range to commercial producers – these clients are producing feeder steers and grassfed EU cattle,’’ Mr Day said.
Warrensville principal Chris Steer, Bordertown, said agents were “utterly amazed at the clearances’’.
“Commercial producers were after well grown, well muscled bulls ready to go out to work,’’ Mr Steer said.
“There has been 180 bulls sell over three days in SA with good clearances despite the horrific seasonal conditions,
“There is more confidence in the beef market – our average was up on last year.’’
Herefords are back on the radar in Western Australia where the WA Supreme Bull Sale on February 18 topped at $17,500 and created a new state record individual sale average of $11,500.
The record was set by Rob and Heather Francis, Yallaroo Herefords, Busselton.
Mr Francis said the sale result had put whiteface cattle back on the radar in WA.
“It was fantastic – it has made a lot of people sit up and take notice of the breed,’’ he said.
“People are starting to value the benefits of the breed including the doing ability and temperament.
“Now the meat trade is keen to get their hands on Hereford carcases.
“Clients are averaging over $1100/head for their lines of 100-200 steers, aged seven to nine months.’’
Mr Francis said cull cow prices of $1500-$1900 and cull bull prices of $2000-$2500 had enabled commercial producers to reinvest in new genetics.
He said there was strong demand from commercial producers for replacement Hereford heifers.