THEY say records are made to be broken and this was certainly the case at last week's red-hot Diamond Tree on-property Angus bull sale at Manjimup, when the stud re-wrote its record books for a second consecutive year.
Like last year, the prices matched the strong cattle market of the past 12 months, as a strong contingent of old and new buyers competed fiercely on the quality offering of bulls and pushed prices to record highs including a new top price of $19,000 and an average of $7814.
The line-up of bulls offered by stud principals Kim and Lex Gandy showed plenty of potential and a wide range of traits to suit any beef operation.
Some new bloodlines were represented, in combination with tried and tested ones for buyers to choose from.
The new bloodlines included Connealy Mentor, Dunoon Gabba G548, Jarobee Bushranger F119 and Poss Total Impact and these all attracted support from the 76 registered buyers.
Even before the first bull entered the ring, it was evident it was going to be another strong sale for the Gandy family given the registered buyers list outnumbered the bulls on offer.
This occurred despite the family increasing its offering by 15 bulls on last year's record breaking sale.
Not only did the stud again set a new $19,000 auction record price, beating the one it set last year at $15,000, but by the time the auctioneering tag team of Elders' Nathan King and Landmark's John Wirth had knocked down the last bull, 70 of the 74 bulls offered had been cleared for a barnstorming average of $7814 and a huge gross of $547,000.
This smashed last year's record figures to make it the stud's best sale.
In comparison, last year the stud offered and sold 59 bulls for an average of $6958 and a gross of $410,500, while in 2014 the stud sold 54 bulls from 57 offered for an average of $5486, a gross of $296,250 and a top of $10,000.
This meant the average lifted $856 and the gross was up $136,500 on last year, while the average was up $2328 and the gross was up more than $250,000 on 2014.
Mr Wirth and Elders stud stock manager Tim Spicer said it was a terrific sale and a brilliant result for the Gandy family, on the back of last year's record sale and an increased offering.
Mr Wirth said it was a blinder of a sale, which was extremely strong and solid.
"The presentation of the bulls was outstanding as always and buyers responded accordingly in their bidding," Mr Wirth said.
"There was depth right to the end of catalogue and no weakness in the team and it was because of this depth the average increased on last year, despite the Gandy family increasing their offering.
"Normally when you increase an offering significantly you don't really expect to see such a rise in the average, so it is a credit to the Gandys with what they have been able to achieve.
"Buyers certainly recognised the quality and the genetics on offer today and were prepared to pay for them."
Mr Spicer said the quality of bulls presented was very impressive and they sold accordingly.
"It was a very even team and this was reflected in the prices, with even bulls in the last 10 selling up to $9250," Mr Spicer said.
"Yet again the sale was well supported by regular buyers from across the South West and lower Great Southern regions, plus a handful of new buyers added extra competition to the catalogue.
"On the back of buoyant weaner sales this season, commercial buyers were certainly the backbone of the sale and they were prepared to pay for what they wanted.''
Mr Spicer said the new owners of the stud also attended and invested in new genetics.
"The newer bloodlines introduced to the stud are certainly doing the job and buyers could see this and bid up strongly,'' he said.
"Buyers were certainly chasing the Connealy Mentor and Ayrvale Bartel bulls."
With such an even line-up it was always going to be a difficult for one to standout from the rest and this was the case with eight bulls selling for $10,000 or more and another 24 selling between $8000 and $10,000.
The first 30 bulls sold averaged $9308.
Even though the top end was extremely strong and buyers were pushed to their limits, some bulls still sold in the $4000 to $5000 range.
A long, deep, well-muscled bull, Diamond Tree Mentor K179, in lot seven, appeared to be marked in everyone's catalogue, and bids flew in after Mr King took the opening bid at $10,000.
After some quick back and forth between the grandstands and the auctioneering team, the 952 kilogram, upstanding sire was knocked down to return buyers of more than 15 years the Phillips family, WD & IM Phillips & Son, Kanangra Grazing, Manjimup.
The soft, smooth, growthy AI-bred sire, which was by Connealy Mentor 7374 and out of Diamond Tree Quiet Lad H3, had a birthweight of 34kg, a frame score of 5.8 and a scrotal circumference of 41 centimetres.
The February 2014-drop bull had eye appeal and the arithmetic to match with EBVs of +5.4 birthweight, +52, +95 and +129 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +19 milk, +3.9 scrotal size, +70 carcase weight, +6.4 EMA, +0.9 rib fat, +1.4 rump fat, +0.9 retail beef yield and +0.5 IMF.
This placed it in the top one per cent of the breed for scrotal size, top 5pc for all growth traits, top 10pc for carcase weight and rump fat and top 15pc for EMA.
It had index values of +$120 for Angus breeding, +$110 domestic, +$110 heavy grain and +$123 heavy grass.
The Phillips family are no strangers to buying top-priced bulls at a Diamond Tree sale and were quick to circle Mentor K179 in their catalogue as the bull they wanted when they walked through prior to the sale.
Lindsay Phillips said Mentor K179 was a standout and picked itself.
"He is a good, sirey type with good muscling and a good topline," she said.
"He also has a top temperament and is really quiet, which is something we look for.
"We are also always on the lookout for new bloodlines to use in our herd and this bull ticked this box as well being sired by Connealy Mentor."
Mentor K179, will be used over a select group of mature cows to breed bulls for the operation's main breeding herd, which comprises 800 mature aged cows and 150 heifers that are mated annually.
Ms Phillips said they have continued to source their bulls from Diamond Tree through the years because of the back up service they receive on the bulls, the consistent performance they achieve with the Diamond Tree bloodline and the good temperaments of the cattle.
It is understandable that the Phillips family is happy to keep securing Diamond Tree bulls given the prices they averaged for their calves this season.
They sold 300 steers calves through the Manjimup weaner sales and averaged $1160 a head, while their heifer calves which were sold as breeders through the weaner sales at Manjimup averaged $1100 over a draft of 120 head.
The Phillips family also purchased another three bulls to finish with a team of four at an average of $10,250.
Their other purchases included two Dunoon Gabba G548 sons with rib and rump fat EBVs in the top 1pc of the breed, at $8000 and $7000 and a Diamond Tree CC & 7 H85 son at $7000.
The long, deep, 964kg Diamond Tree Bartel K34, in lot nine, also caught buyers' attention.
Mr King took an opening bid of $10,000 on the AI-bred, twin calf and in a matter of seconds it was knocked down at the $15,000 second top price to return buyers Joe and Shane Bendotti, Pemberton.
Joe Bendotti said the bull had a great make and shape and good figures.
"He is a long, deep bull with good feet and legs," Mr Bendotti said.
"He also had a low birthweight, which was something we were looking for as he will be used over heifers, and good growth figures."
The Bendotti family, which has been buying from Diamond Tree for five years, run 100 Angus breeders and aim to breed replacement females with Bartel K34.
Bartel K34 had EBVs of +3.3 birthweight, +44, +79 and +103 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +18 milk, +2.2 scrotal, +66 carcase weight, +8.5 EMA, +0.5 retail beef yield and +2.2 IMF, placing it in the top 5pc for EMA and top 20pc for carcase weight, milk and scrotal size.
It had index values of +$118 for Angus breeding, +$112 domestic, +$112 heavy grain and +$114 heavy grass, which are all in the top 20pc of the breed.
Mt Howick producer Anthony McDonald, Kuloomba Farming, made the long trip to the Diamond Tree sale for the first time and didn't go home empty handed.
Mr McDonald was chasing the Connealy Mentor 7374 bloodline and secured Diamond Tree Mentor K161 at the $14,000 third top price.
The AI-bred son of Connealy Mentor 7374 weighed 944kg and had EBVs of +3.2 birthweight, +45, +78 and +97 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +12 milk, +59 carcase weight, +8.3 EMA, +1.9 rib fat, +1.7 rump fat, +0.7 retail beef yield and +0.8 IMF.
These rank it in the top 5pc of the breed for EMA and rib fat and top 10pc for rump fat.
Mr McDonald said Mentor K161 had great muscling and a good topline.
"He is also a good, smooth bull," Mr McDonald said.
"He also has a balanced set of figures across the board, which aren't extreme."
The bull will be used over third calvers to breed replacement females for the operation's herd of 200 pure Angus breeders, which is back in numbers on years gone by, but Mr McDonald is hoping to build the herd back up to 500 head.
Mr McDonald also paid $8750 for an 876kg Dunoon Gabba G548 son which had rib and rump fat EBVs in the top 5pc of the breed.
Return buyers the Hortin family, FV Hortin & Sons, Albany, were strong early bidders securing four bulls at an average of $10,188, to be equal volume buyers with the Phillips family.
Included in the operation's team was the $13,500 fourth top price bull, Diamond Tree Gabba K122, which was catalogued in lot one.
The 1036kg son of Dunoon Gabba G548 had a frame score 7.9 and EBVs of +53, +97 and +134 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +15 milk, +2.8 scrotal size, +80 carcase weight, +3.0 EMA, +0.8 rib fat, +0.9 rump fat and +3.0 IMF.
These figures ranked it in the top 1pc for 600-day weight and carcase weight and top 5pc for 200 and 400-day weights, scrotal size and IMF.
The Hortins also paid $9750 for an Ayrvale Bartel E7 son that had an EBVs of +7.1 for EMA and +70 for carcase weight, and $9250 a Diamond Tree CC & 7 H85 son.
The 800kg Diamond Tree Mentor K120 also attracted strong bidding before selling at $11,250 to the DR & DJ Roche Family Trust, Pemberton, while G & N Wilkinson, Badgingarra, paid $10,250 for Diamond Tree Mentor K195 which was in the top 1pc for rib (+3.6) and rump (+4.4) fats.
Both bulls were by Connealy Mentor 7374.
RJ & JD Reid, Albany, paid $10,750 for an Ayrvale Bartel E7 son that ranked in the top 5pc of the breed for 200 and 600-day weights (+51 and +123), carcase weight (+77) and rib fat (+1.9).
Another son of Ayrvale Bartel E7 sold at $10,500 to Elders Margaret River agent Alec Williams, who was bidding on behalf of Glenbrae Pastoral, Witchcliffe.
The 778kg bull is in the top 1pc for scrotal size (+4.0) and top 5pc for carcase weight (+73) and EMA (+8.8).
The Witchcliffe operation also secured a second bull at $7000.
Pemberton producer Jason Gilbert also liked the bulls on offer, securing three sires including two at $7000 to finish with an average of $6000 across his team.
The new owners of the Diamond Tree breeding herd, the Schwartz family, bid on some early bulls and finished with two sires at $9250 and $9000, to show their faith in the Diamond Tree genetics.
Another 11 multiple buyers all secured two bulls each and those averaging more than $7000 for their selections were: RH Omodei & Sons, Pemberton ($8500 average); E & DE Smith & Son, Cranbrook ($7750); BJ Panizza Family Trust, Albany ($7625); Rayview Park Pty Ltd, Albany ($7500); TV & GP Salmeri, Boddington ($7250); and PC Fraser, Nannup ($7250).