Bull bonanza

15 Jan, 2001 03:01 PM

BULL sale prospects look brilliant as WA stands poised on the threshold of this year's selling season. With the recent excellent prices for weaners and breeders, and exceptional money for old trade-in bulls, vendors of these should have extra dollars in their pockets for spending on top quality bulls to upgrade their herds this year. At the same time, the outlook for beef remains extremely promising. "It's very positive in the short term, but we could expect a downturn in 2004-2005 which will be the result of herd build-up in the US. They appear to be starting to breed up female numbers," agricultural and pastoral consultant Alan Peggs said. "Other positives are new market opportunities in Korea, the Middle East and perhaps the EU, depending on increased quotas. There is also talk of the Indonesians banning Irish beef." With regard to old bull prices, Wesfarmers Dalgety senior stud livestock auctioneer John Wirth ‹ who's been in the livestock industry for 38 years ‹ said cattle breeders have been getting between $1000 and $1200 for old trade-in bulls, giving them "more money than usual to spend on replacements". "And the quickest way to upgrade your herd is through the bull, who is half the improvement. If you have 150 cows and three bulls, it's cheaper to buy three good bulls than 150 new cows," he said. He said the good live export prices for bulls had meant that those "not quite right" had gone on the boats, leaving just the top quality ones for sale this year. "A stud is as good as its ability to cull," he said. His advice to potential buyers was to remember the equation: Length + depth = volume. "Volume means kilos and kilos mean money," he said. Mr Wirth and Elders stud stock specialist Kim McDougall have been doing the rounds inspecting bulls for the coming season and with most of the bulls assessed, say the quality has been outstanding wherever they have been. "The outlook for the bull-selling season is extremely positive in the light of current prices for cattle generally," Mr McDougall said. "Vendors have gone to a lot of trouble and the bulls are looking excellent. I believe discerning buyers will probably have to pay more money for the top bulls." During the inspection, stud breeders had reported extremely strong enquiry. Mr McDougall had heard of one breeder who had even sold his private selection bulls before his sale, a reflection of the demand. Private selections are usually sold after the sale. Also, a South West breeder said interest in his bulls had started way back in September, the earliest enquiry he'd had in his 30 years of selling bulls. The demand had started with paddock sales after the bull-selling season had finished last year. "Buyers have lifted their sights on weaners and breeders, so I hope it continues," he said. Tracey and Lindsay Yates, Caringa Simmentals, Bindoon, said inquiry had already started, and took a jump on Boxing Day after people had seen the January page of the Farm Weekly calendar. Caringa bulls are on the feature page for January and the Yates immediately had four calls of interest. The season starts on a high note next week with the Albany Bull Sale on Monday, the Monterey Murray Grey sale Wednesday, and the Yates family's Caringa and Lynwood Hills Simmental sale next day. ÿ


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