A RECORD yarding, spirited bidding and quality first-cross heifers were the key ingredients to making last Friday's scorching Elders Boyanup Supreme Springing Heifer Sale a roaring success.
When the final hammer fell, after close to five hours of selling, the sale had grossed an impressive $1.72 million, for the record yarding of 1577 heifers, making it one of the best ever sales for the Elders team.
Although the sale wasn't as red hot as in past years, it still sailed along at a rate of knots under the Elders auctioneering tag team of Rusty Miller and Mel Morris.
When the final hammer fell the sale had created another piece of Elders folklore, in that it was the biggest yarding ever.
The Elders South West team yarded an impressive 1577 heifers, selling 1497 under the hammer, an increase of 54 on last year, at an outstanding average of $1148, which was down $123 or 10pc on the 2003 result.
Given the increase in the size of the offering and less than favourable seasonal conditions in some of the major buying areas the result was on par with expectations and, combined with the buoyant weaner sales at present, showed there is still plenty of confidence in the WA cattle industry.
The sale, which is renowned for its quality bucket-reared heifers out of Friesian dams, again didn't fail to disappoint as pen after pen of quality heifers came through the ring.
All heifers offered are sold with a guaranteed 10-week joining period and a 12-week calving period.
With an even line-up of heifers from beginning to end the sale was very consistent, with no exceptional highs or lows.
But the larger framed heifers did receive the strongest buying support.
Like in previous years the quality line-up of heifers grabbed the attention of the 100 registered buyers, who came from across the south-west corner of the state.
Speaking after the sale, Elders south west livestock manager and sale auctioneer Rusty Miller said it was a very successful, with the final result on par with expectations and in some cases slightly stronger.
"Through the sheer weight of numbers and unfavourable seasonal conditions in some of the major buying areas, such as the Great Southern, the market eased on previous years, as we expected," Mr Miller said.
"The sale has continued to strengthen over the last few years and we knew it had to come off the pace eventually and it happened this year.
"We were expecting the top heifers to sell for around $1300, which happened and on some occasions this price was surpassed.
"Like in past years the larger-framed heifers sold well, while the lighter and smaller framed heifers were harder to sell.
"Vendors again need to be congratulated on the quality of the offering, which was again outstanding and comparable to previous years.
"However, this year the yarding appeared to be more consistent in quality than in the past."
Sale organisers Robert Gibbings, Elders Capel and Don Page, Elders Margaret River, were equally as happy with the sale result.
"The prices were back this year, but this is mainly due to unfavourable seasonal conditions in a number of areas which stopped regular buyers buying and also reduced some buying orders," Mr Gibbings said.
"It was again a quality yarding, which was well supported by regular buyers, who keep returning year in year out."
Mr Page was also happy with the final result saying the result was on par with expectation.
"We were expecting prices to ease this year due to seasonal circumstances and the number of heifers on the market today," Mr Page said.
"The prices for the Angus-Friesian heifers were steady throughout and the Hereford-Friesian heifers also sold well."
Though the sale was solid throughout, a pen of four Murray Grey-Friesian heifers stood out to buyers.
As soon as the large-framed, quiet heifers entered the ring they showed all their assets as potential breeders and buyers quickly responded pushing prices up.
Bids flowed freely on the pen right from the outset.
But in the end it was Elders Boyanup agent Mal Barrett who won the tug-a-war to secure the heifers for a top Boyanup cattle producer, who buys regularly at the sale.
The heifers were offered in the sale by Arthur Green, Green Dairies, North Boyanup, who has been selling off and on in the sale for the past 20 years.
They had been running on irrigated pastures over summer and had been synchronised mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from January 4 to February 1.
Mr Green believes the Murray Grey-Friesian cross is one of the best there is.
"It is an attractive hardy cross," Mr Green said.
"The Friesian adds size, while the Murray Grey gives a little extra to the meat."
Mr Barrett said the producer runs between 50 and 60 breeders and would use the heifers as replacement females.
"Next year the heifers will be mated back to Limousin bulls in his boutique vealer operation," Mr Barrett.
The sale began with the Angus-Friesian category under the control of Elders auctioneer and south-west livestock manager Rusty Miller, who told buyers it was an outstanding line-up heifers and to bid up.
Numerically and in monetary terms this was by far the biggest offering with the 1210 heifers sold, accounting for 81pc of the heifers sold.
The Angus-Friesian heifers grossed just under $1.4 million, despite being back on last year slightly.
And after just over three and three quarter hours of selling, 1210 of the 1251 heifers offered had been sold to a top of $1400 and an average of $1156, which was back $127 on last year and up $8 on the overall sale average.
It didn't take long to establish the $1400 top price in this section of the sale, with the first pen making this value.
As soon as the first lot entered the ring, buyers made their intentions felt with an opening bid of $1200 on the big, roomy heifers, setting up a solid foundation for the sale.
With bids flying freely at the auctioneering team on the pen of 12 heifers it didn't take long to reach the $1400 top price.
But in the end it was DG & HM Evans, Yallingup, who secured the heifers, which had come from the Busselton paddocks of Ron Beacham, Beacham Bros.
The quiet heifers had been mated to Blackrock Angus bulls and are due to calve from January 22 to April 6.
Beacham Bros also took second top price honours in this section of the sale when they sold a pen of 12 heifers, which had also been mated to Blackrock bulls and due to calve from January 22 to April 6, for $1360 to Elders livestock representative Doug Slater.
The Beacham family were by far the biggest vendors in this section sale selling 152 heifers at an average of $1258.
This year's sale marked the final time the Beacham family would offer heifers in such a large quantity and also the last time they would sell heifers they had raised in their dairy.
Also making top dollar in the Beacham line-up was a draft of 12 heifers of the same description as the top two lines, when they sold for $1320 to Jabenco Trust, Albany.
Regular vendors and Elgin producers Michael and Loretta Roberts, KS & EN Roberts, also had a good sale with their run of Angus-Friesian heifers selling to a top of $1340.
The $1340 pen of 10 heifers had been mated to Limousin bulls and have a guaranteed eight week calving period starting January 15.
The Roberts family also sold two pens of the same description for $1300.
One pen of 12 was secured by return buyer and Denmark cattleman Graham Ayres, who also secured a second pen of nine heifers of the same description from the Roberts family for $1280.
The second pen to make $1300 offered by the Roberts family, was a pen of 12 heifers, which were bought by the day's biggest buyers KD Power Pastoral Co, Busselton.
By the conclusion of the sale the Busselton operation had secured 117 Angus-Friesian heifers at an average of $1191.
Also included in the team of heifers headed for Busselton at $1300 was a draft of 10 heifers offered by RJ Lewis, Brunswick.
They had been AI mated to a Limousin bull and due to calve from January 25 to April 19.
The Busselton operation is in the process of building up its breeding numbers to 1000 head and only secured heifers mated to Limousin bulls as they believe it is a ideal cross for their vealer operation.
The $1320 price tag was a popular price for two pens of heifers offered by PJ & J Boley, Karridale.
The first pen of 10 heifers to make this mark were bought by Dean Hick, Witchcliffe, while the second pen of 10 were bought by FJ & KJ Kammann, Manjimup.
Both lines of heifers had been synchronised AI mated to a Limousin bull and due to calve from January 7 to January 14.
Mr Hick also paid $1120 for a line of seven heifers offered by the Boleys, which had been mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from January 19 to March 5.
Again this year David Tognela, Tognela Dairies, Brunswick, was a volume vendor in this section of the sale selling 74 to a top of $1320.
The $1320 pen of 10 heifers, which had been synchronised mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from January 9 to January 30, were bought by N & M Terrigno, Manjimup.
Mr Tognela also sold a draft of 10 heifers of the same description for $1300 to Dr M Munroe, Bunbury.
One of the day's largest vendors Murray Harris, MJ & HE Harris, Paradise Country, Dardanup, didn't disappoint either with his large line-up of Angus-Friesian heifers, selling two pens for $1300, both lines had been mated to Limousin and due to calve from January 27 to April 21.
The first pen to sell at $1300, was a line of 10 heifers, which were bought by RA Adams & Co, Ravenswood.
The second pen, which was made up of nine head, was knocked down to Perivale Orchards, Donnybrook, through Elders Donnybrook agent Paul Reilly.
Perrivale also secured another 12 heifers, which had been mated to Angus bulls and due from January 27 to April 21, from the Harris family for $1220.
All up the Harris family sold 122 Angus-Friesian heifers at an average of $1168.
p Murray Grey-Friesian
Elders Midland auctioneer Mel Morris took over the auctioneering duties at this stage of the sale and started on the 133 Murray Grey-Friesian offering where 117 heifers sold to a top of $1140 and an average of $1180, which was best for the sale and up $32 on the overall sale average.
The next best price in this category after the sale's $1440 top price was $1300, which occurred twice.
The first time was when a draft of nine extremely quiet heifers, from the paddocks of volume vendors Michael and Loretta Roberts, KS & EN Roberts, Elgin, sold for $1300.
The well-grown heifers were secured by RA Musulin, Manjimup and had been mated to Limousin bulls and had a guaranteed 10 week calving period starting January 15.
Hot on the trail of the $1300 heifers was another line of nine heifers of the same description from the Roberts family, which sold for $1280 to the day's volume buyer KD Power Pastoral Co, Busselton.
Along with this line of heifers the Busselton operation also secured another two lines of heifers from the Roberts family, paying $1220 for nine and $1180 for eight.
The $1300 price tag was reached on a second occasion when fellow volume vendor Murray Harris, MJ & HE Harris, Paradise Country, Dardanup, sold seven Murray Grey-Friesian heifers to K Snowball, Albany.
The roomy heifers had been mated to Limousin bulls and due to calve from January 27 to April 21.
Also recording a price above the breed average for their line of six heifers was PJ & J Boley, Karridale.
The pen of heifers, which had be AI synchronised mated to a Limousin and due to calve from January 7 to January 14, made $1240 when they were knocked down to FJ & KJ Kammann, Manjinup.
Numerically the Hereford-Friesian section of the sale was the second largest and it received strong buying support.
All up 146 heifers were sold in this section out of a offering of 169 at an average of $1083, which was down $133 on last yearís result.
Throughout this section of the sale buyers were consistent with their bidding, which resulted in a solid sale for the Hereford-Friesian heifers.
Topping this section of the sale at $1340 was a line of eight large-framed heifers offered by regular and volume vendor Jim Brooks, JA & NA Brooks & Son, Witchcliffe.
When prices finally peaked at $1340 it was Alexander Bridge producers NL & G Parke, who had the final bid on the pen of roomy heifers.
The heifers, which had been mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from January 15 to April 11, showed all the assets of future breeders as they moved around the ring.
The Parke family also secured a second pen of five heifers, of the same description, offered by the Brooks family for $1240, equalling the second top price in this section.
The $1240 price was a popular price and occurred for a second time in the Witchcliffe offering when three heifers, which had the same description, were bought by Bill Leiper, Glenluce Livestock, Cowaramup.
In total the Brooks family sold 42 Hereford-Friesian heifers at an average of $1204.
Beacham Bros, Busselton, was another vendor in this section of the sale to impress buyers with their big roomy heifers, also selling to a top of $1240.
The $1240 pen of eight black and white heifers offered by Beacham Bros, had been mated to Blackrock Angus bulls and due to calve from January 22 to April 6 and were bought by WJ & JM Wringe, Kirup.
The Busselton operation also sold two pens of heifers, of the same description, at $1100.
The first was a pen of eight heifers and was bought by EB & G Quick, Donnybrook, while the second pen contained seven and these were bought by OM Dunnett & Co, Nannup.
The volume buyers in this section of the sale was CA & CC Scott, Nannup, who bought 21 heifers to a top of $920, from NL, SE & DE Payne, Karridale.
The heifers had all been mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from January 21 to April 15.
In this section of the sale there were 10 heifers presented and sold by three vendors at an average of $1114, which was up $66 on last year's sale.
After strong sales in the Angus-Friesian and Murray Grey-Friesian sections of the sale, Michael and Loretta Roberts, KS & EN Roberts, Elgin, topped this section of the sale with two heifers at $1200.
The two well-grown heifers, which had been mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from January 15 for 10 weeks, were bought by RJ & LG McDonald, Karridale, through Elders Karridale agent Brian Bowden.
The McDonalds also secured the first pen of five Simmental-Friesian heifers to go through the ring at $1040.
These heifers were offered by Nevada Park, Brunswick, had been mated to an Angus bull and due to calve from February 10 to May 5.
After buying in the Hereford-Friesian section of the sale DV Brockman & Co, Margaret River, secured the final three heifers in this section at $1180, which were offered by KJ & MN Dilley, Pinjarra.
Eleven Limousin-Friesian heifers were presented and sold in this year's sale by four vendors at an average of $836.
The top price in this category came when Dardanup producers RW & DA Smallacombe were successful in securing the first two heifers in this section at $1020.
The two heifers, which had been synchronised mated to an Angus bull and due to calve from January 9 to January 30, were offered in the sale by David Tognela, Tognela Dairies, Brunswick.
Elders Capel agent Robert Gibbings purchased three heifers mated to an Angus bull and due to calve from January 10 to April 4, offered by A & AR Italiano, Harvey, at $920 and two heifers, which had been mated to an Angus bull and due to calve from February 5 to April 23, offered by GG & D & M Tartaglia, Benger, for $800.
p Belgian Blue-Friesian, Charolais-Friesian, Santa Gertrudis-Friesian
Vendors presented one of each of these heifers in the sale with a Charolais-Friesian heifer taking top price honours in this multi-breed section when it sold for $1180.
The Charolais heifer offered by KJ & MN Dilley, Pinjarra, which had been mated to an Angus bull and due to calve from February 19 to April 14 was bought by B & C Houlihan, Kenwick.
The Houlihans also went on to buy the Belgian Blue-Friesian cross heifer offered by Nevada Park, Brunswick, for $1040.
The heifer had been mated to a Limousin bull and due to calve from February 1 to April 26.
Rounding out this section was Santa Gertrudis-Friesian heifer offered by Crendon Downs, Donnybrook, which was knocked down to AW & BK Turner, Capel, for $920.
The heifer had been mated to an Limousin bull and due to calve from February 9 to April 8.