RECORDS were broken across the board to highlight the outstanding results at the Willandra on-property bull sale at Williams last week.
The Cowcher family offered a quality catalogue of Simmental and Red Angus bulls in their 28th sale, widely regarded as the best line-up of cattle seen at the sale.
Combined with widespread buying support from all parts of the State's agricultural region, the ingredients were in place for a strong result.
Buoyed by the continuing strong beef market and positive industry outlook, buyers made it clear from the outset they were prepared to go the extra yard to secure their bulls of choice.
When the 49th and final bull had sold, the Landmark selling team had cleared 43 Simmental and Red Angus bulls (88 per cent clearance) to post a record sale gross of $280,250 at a record average of $6517.
The studs also notched up what is believed to be their equal best clearance which was further improved with negotiations continuing on the six overlooked bulls following the sale.
Compared to last year's overall result where 41 of 50 bulls (82pc) sold at auction to average $5762, there was two additional bulls sold this year with the gross up by $44,000 on the back of a $755 spike in average.
Twenty-nine of 33 (88pc) Simmental bulls sold at auction to average $6871, marking a $854 lift in average compared to last year where 30 of 35 (86pc) bulls sold to average $6017.
The Red Angus line-up also posted a significant jump in average with 14 of 16 bulls (88pc) selling to average $5786, up $718 on last year's sale when 11 of 15 bulls (73pc) sold to average $5068.
Willandra stud co-principal Peter Cowcher said the family was delighted with the result.
"We would like to thank all buyers and underbidders for attending the sale, we really appreciate their support," he said.
"We are proud of the bulls offered, they came through a really tough 2015 and the way they responded in the past few months is testament to their performance and efficiency and we are confident the bulls will go out and do the job."
Landmark Williams agent Ben Kealy said the great results reflected the quality of bulls on offer.
"Buyers and vendors would be very happy," he said.
"The Willandra studs are getting better and better, it's the deepest quality of bulls for both studs at the one sale I've seen while the number of top-end bulls also continues to grow with more stud sire types offered.
"Lot one to the last bull could be bought with confidence."
The depth of the top-end of the catalogue was highlighted with the top price for each breed recorded twice with two Simmental bulls selling for $12,000 and two Red Angus bulls at $7500.
Return buyers Roland and Gieta Palme, Bramley, were the first to pay the sale's equal $12,000 top price for the 852 kilogram Willandra Kojak K47 in lot one.
K47 is a 90 per cent homozygous polled son of Wilandra Grenadier and Willandra Mystic C210, born on April 21, 2014.
It recorded growth figures and indexes above breed average including the top 5pc for northern terminal (NT) and export maternal (EM) indices and top 10pc for domestic maternal (DM) index.
The Palme family run a small self-replacing herd of Simmental and Red Angus-Simmental cross breeders.
Their first calving heifers are joined to Red Angus sires and the mature cows go to Simmental bulls with their sale calves aimed at the vealer market and sold on-farm direct to processors.
Ms Palme said along with the bull's excellent temperament and conformation, its poll background on both the sire and dam pedigrees was a strong selling point.
"We are only a small operation and the polled breeding saves us the dehorning process," she said.
The Tullamore Park Simmental stud, Busselton, paid the equal $12,000 top price for the next bull into the sale ring, Willandra Kingston K132, also a polled son of Grenadier and out of Willandra Mystic F74.
The younger June 21, 2014-drop bull weighed 820kg and displayed outstanding growth EBVs and indices.
K132 ranked in the breed's top 5pc for 200, 400 and 600-day weights and vealer terminal (VT) index and in the top 1pc for all other indices.
A number of other WA studs also secured new Willandra sires.
The Weightman family, Topweight Simmental stud, Margaret River, returned to the sale and paid the next highest price of $11,500 for the following bull in lot three containing Willandra Knave K43.
K43 was sired by Woonallee Genuine and out of Willandra Elena A136 and was the heaviest bull in the sale rocking the scales to 926kg.
It recorded a strong spread of EBVs including top 1pc for NT and EM indices, top 5pc for DM index and 600-day weight and top 10pc for 200-day weight and VT index.
Woonallee Genuine featured another son that sold for $11,500 this time to RE & RF Williams, Scotsdale.
Willandra Kirby K89, penned in lot 17, is a 846kg bull out of Willandra Elena B31.
K89 was a moderate birthweight bull with indices in the top 1pc for NT and top 5-10pc for other indices while in the top 5pc for milk and top 10pc for 200 and 600-day weight, retail beef yield (RBY) and carcase weight (CW).
The Williams family purchased another Simmental bull for $6000.
The Kitchen family, Bandeeka stud, Elgin, picked up a new stud sire Willandra Kimba K88 for $10,000.
K88 was a twin by Woonallee Genuine with its twin brother retained at the Willandra stud.
The 840kg bull recorded a top 1pc ranking for DM, EM and NT indices and top 5pc for 200-day weight, milk and VT index.
Other higher prices paid for Simmental bulls included Landmark Capel agent Chris Waddingham representing Nannup Fresh Fruit, Nannup, who bid to $9500 for one of three bulls, HNH Grazing Co, Pinjarra, also paid to $9500 for a single purchase while DU Brockman & Co, Cowaramup, and Orrvale Grazing Co, Kojonup, each paid $9000 for a Simmental sire.
Regular sale supporter Gordon Atwell, Welldon Beef, Williams, took this year's volume buyer mantle, buying five Simmental bulls between $4500 and $5500.
p Red Angus
The Smith family's Kildarra Red Angus stud, Albany, and the Blyth family, Manjimup, paid the $7500 equal top prices for a Red Angus sire.
Graeme Smith secured the seventh bull into the ring Willandra Krugerrand K91, a 842kg son of homebred parents Cain C1 and Dixie F42, which was born on April 24, 2014.
K91 had above average EBVs for most of its recorded traits including the 10pc for EMA and RBY and top 15pc for 600-day weight and northern steer index.
Mr Smith said he had liked many of the Cain sons he had seen at previous Willandra sales.
He selected the bull for its growth for age, softness, length and depth of body and said there a few different options where it could be used in their stud and commercial herds.
Len and Jen Blyth, LV Blyth, followed up with another $7500 bid on the next bull in the ring Willandra Karl K144.
K144 is another Cain son and out of Willandra May Queen E32, and was born in early June 2014 and displayed excellent EBVs in the top 10-15pc for most traits including the top 5pc for the vealer index.
The Blyth family run a herd of Charolais and Chargrey breeders traditionally joined to Charolais bulls.
But with their agent Jock Embry, Landmark Margaret River, they have decided to use a Red Angus bull to get the hybrid vigour into their calves from the British Breed-European cross.
Ms Blyth said they have been weaning their calves for the Boyanup weaned cattle sales for the past 10 years with the calves aged seven to 10 months and 330kg average liveweight for about two weeks prior to the sale.
RE & OM Treasure & Sons, Fern Hill, Wandering, paid the next highest price of $7250 for Willandra Kym K30, a 810kg, early April 2014-drop bull by Jutland Fraser F13 with a top 5pc ranking for 200-day weight and vealer index.
Eastern State's buyer Fishington Red Angus stud, Wongwibinda, NSW, paid $7000 for a 852kg, early April 2014-drop son of Willandra Dependable, while Preston Downs Farming Co, Esperance, bid to $6250 for two bulls.
Volume buyer of the Red Angus bull draft was Primaries Lower Great Southern agent Rob Williams representing Graeme Sharp,
L Sharp & Son, Bow Bridge, who purchased four bulls from $5000 to $6500.
They selected a heifer bull and three mature herd bulls to help join the Sharp family's 150 predominately Red Angus breeders where they target the Mt Barker vealer lotfeeder market with calves weighing 330-360kg.