A COMPETITIVE buyers' gallery took the top price of an angus bull to $30,000 at the annual Ascot bull sale at North Toolburra on Friday.
The bull, Ascot Evident, was offered by stud principals Jim Wedge and Jackie Chard on-property just outside Warwick and sold to James and Ted Laurie, of Knowla Angus stud, Gloucester, New South Wales.
There were industry rumours the 726kg bull, a son of Dunoon Evident and out of a Millah Murrah blood heifer, had set a new Australian record for the angus breed for a yearling bull selling under the hammer.
But a spokeswoman for the Angus Australia Society said yesterday while the young Ascot bull had sold well, the figure was not a record for sires classified under the Herd Book Register.
"If the young bull had been classified under the Angus Performance Register, it would have been record or near-record for an auction sale," she explained.
"However, he came under the HBR classification, which is a tougher class, with animals practically able to be traced back to the breed in Scotland.
"Yet, given the season, I would still say $30,000 is a reasonable price."
The top-priced bid for the black breed represented a significant gain on 2012 figures, when the best-selling Ascot angus bull made $17,000.
But figures for the Charolais sires were back slightly on the last year, with the top-priced bull at Friday's
sale making $16,000, down from the inaugural sale high of $20,000.
This year the pinnacle of the charolais offering was two-year-old Ascot Grand Redemption, which was purchased by James and Mike Milner, from Rosedale Charolais, in Blayney, New South Wales.
This bull was sired by Harvey Redemption and out of a Gobongo female.
A total of 55 polled angus and charolais lots were offered at Friday's sale, with just four passed in.
Angus bulls averaged $5400, while the Charolais sires averaged $5300.
Despite the market fluctuations, Mr Wedge said he was satisfied with the overall sale outcome in a tough season.
"We were very pleased with the response from buyers in what could only be called a challenging time for our industry," he said.
"In all honesty, I think we were actually surprised by just how well the sale went, considering much of Queensland and New South Wales needs rain.
"And, again, we were very grateful for the local producers, who supported our sale again this year."
The two southern studs bought the top-priced bulls in partnership with the Australian Livestock Genetics Investment group, through Mike Wilson Stud Stock at Armidale.
Mr Wedge said many studs were opting to buy bulls in conjunction with genetic companies to "share" the cost and enable them to invest in more expensive purebred stock.
"I think there is a trend that way - so studs can use top-quality bulls without having to pay the full price themselves."
Ian and Janie Murray's Kindee Pastoral Company, from Roma, spent $39,000 on eight bulls to be the major volume buyer.
The Quilty family, from Craigieburn, at Glencoe, in New South Wales, were the other significant bidders, spending $19,500 on three bulls.
Elders Warwick livestock agent Brendan Kelly said the sale figures were impressive in a difficult selling environment.
"The success of this year's Ascot sale reflected the quality of the offering and the effort Jim and Jackie put into preparing their cattle," he said.
"It was also good to see so many locals bidding, which I believe shows how much emphasis people are putting on buying quality bulls."
Locals who were active in the bidding gallery included Wright Pastoral Company from Brookvale, Old Koreelah, which spent $12,500 to take home three Ascot bulls.
- Angus bulls sold to a top of $30,000 and an average of $5400.
- Charolais bulls topped $16,000 and averaged $5300.