CRATHES Park Shorthorn stud, Vasse, continues to go from strength to strength following its comprehensive result at its annual bull and heifer sale at the Muchea Livestock Centre last Friday.
The stud's third annual sale at Muchea returned a total clearance and significantly improved returns for stud principal Phil Burnett and the Crathes Park team.
The quality, even sale team of well grown Shorthorn bulls and heifers attracted strong support from the State's Shorthorn breeders, pastoralists and graziers, who bid accordingly.
The Elders selling team sold all 27 bulls to average $6528 and one bid shy of equalling the stud's record top price set last year, while all 25 heifers were cleared at auction to top at $4600 twice and average $2312.
Values and clearances were up across the board compared to last year's sale where 19 of 20 bulls sold under the hammer to average $5079, while 13 of 15 bulls sold to average $1908.
This year's sale top price scenario mirrored last year's $11,250 record top price with Alex Burrow, Narralda Shorthorn stud, Youngs Siding, bid to $11,000 for a new stud sire.
The 20-month old polled bull Crathes Layton L42 was penned in lot 11, demonstrating the depth of the sale team.
The red-coated Layton was sired by Crathes Hastings H42 and out of Neearra Judith 114 and recorded EBVs in the breed's top one per cent for milk and IMF, top 5pc for carcase weight (CW) and top 15 to 20pc for all growth, mature cow weight (MCW) and scrotal.
Alex said the calves from a Hastings son purchased at last year's sale, looked very good which encouraged him to expand the bloodline in their herd.
"It is a thick, moderate framed bull with excellent milk and a great colour that will suit our younger females nicely," he said.
"It is our second Hastings son and the new sire is from a very good cow bloodline."
The Yost family, Toodyay, stocked up at the sale with a new sire and several heifers at the top end of the market for their recently established Liberty Shorthorn stud.
It paid the sale's $10,000 second top price for another Hastings son Crathes Lombard L34.
The polled, red coloured L34 was the first calf out of heifer Crathes Enia J18 and displayed EBVs in the top 1pc for IMF, top 10pc for CW and rib fat and top 15 to 25 for eye muscle area (EMA), weight intervals and milk.
The Yosts also collected five unjoined 2016-drop heifers paying to the sale's $4600 equal top price for Crathes Patsy M14.
The polled nine-month-old red heifer was by Bayview Regal J42 and homebred Pasty cow family and displayed strong above average EBVs and indexes across its recorded traits.
Kevin Yost said they were trying to fast-track the size and quality of their Shorthorn herd through buying suitable heifers and sires and utilising embryo transfer programs.
"We were looking for a stud sire and this bloke fitted the bill figures-wise for growth and carcase and overall structure," he said.
"We hope to calve down 20 Shorthorn first calvers this year.
"We flushed three Crathes heifers and a Narralda heifer purchased last year and from 11 implants we have nine ET calves on the ground.
"We will do another ET program in June with a flush purchased from Sprys Shorthorn sale and a flush from this year's top-priced Crathes heifer.
"Hopefully next year we can calve down 35 to 40 females with the natural joinings and ET programs and offer yearling Shorthorn bulls with the Charolais at our 2018 winter bull sale in May."
The Quilty family's Elgin Park Shorthorn stud, Elgin, was established in 2014 and is keen to boost numbers with Crathes heifers.
Like the Yosts, the Quiltys have a Charolais stud and bid to the sale's $4600 equal top price for one of their five heifers purchased - Crathes Frances M6.
The heifer was a polled red coated 11-month-old heifer also by Bayview Regal J42 and out of the Eden Park cow family and displayed milk figures in the top 1pc and top 10 to 20pc for growth intervals, MCW and CWT.
Jim Quilty said they were chasing the more early maturing, solid type Shorthorn animal in their heifer selections with the top priced heifer a stand out for various reasons.
"There was squareness and softness and barrel for such a young heifer but the kids pestered me to buy her for its unique white heart-shaped marking on its forehead," he said.
Another Charolais and Shorthorn operation Fairbrass Park stud, Busselton, secured five heifers at the sale paying to the sale's second top price of $4500, again for a Bayview Regal J42 daughter.
Matt Fairbrass and Aimee Court said having both breeds allowed them to offer their clients a British and European breed option and they were chasing a deep-bodied feminine type with positive fats and high milk.
Don Hammerquist, Mount Augustus and Dooley Downs stations, via Meekatharra, has been a strong supporter of the Crathes stud for the past five years and stocked up with another five bulls at this year's sale paying from $4500 to $7250.
Mr Hammerquist said they had good early rains and with feed 'up and blowing in the breeze' the cattle were moving forward.
He said they are currently running 9500 Shorthorn and Shorthorn-Droughtmaster cross breeders across the two properties and recently achieved a 10-year branding rate of 86pc.
"That's the maternal traits of the Shorthorn female shining through." Don said.
"Even when times are tough, they still manage to spit out a calf and carry them through."
Mr Hammerquist said the team of Crathes bulls will head to the family's Geraldton property and with the Narralda bulls purchased earlier expects them to be working at Mt Augustus in the next couple of weeks.
Craig Walker, Primaries Geraldton, was another volume buyer securing five bulls to $8500 for undisclosed northern grazier account.
Fellow Primaries pastoral representative Shane Flemming purchased three bulls from $5000 to $6000 for Jimba Jimba station, Carnarvon and one bull for $8250 for return buyer Lang Family Trust, Gingin, while Bancell Falls, Pinjarra, secured a team of three bulls.