THE 2015 Landmark Blue Ribbon breeders sale started on full throttle when cashed up cattlemen went all out to get some unforgettable lines of Angus females at Mt Barker last week.
While the sale is traditionally renowned for its magnificent drafts of mated heifers it was a pen of eight five-year-old PTIC cows that topped the sale at $2160 and many other lines went soaring through the $2000-mark in a best ever event for Landmark agents.
All 892 head were cleared under auctioneer Harry Carroll's hammer for a $1584 average giving the sale a $1,431,200 gross and a reason to check the record books to see if there has ever been a better Blue Ribbon sale.
It eclipsed 2014 in every way when 851 head sold for a $1700 top and $1108 average.
p PTIC Angus cows
The top price pen of cows were from the second part of Kelvin and Estelle Ridgway's two-stage dispersal of their Porongurup herd that started at this sale last year when they sold their oldest females.
Prices rewarded their long-term efforts at a level they had never previously experienced and the couple were pleased to be cashing in while prices were high.
They will continue to run steers and their decision was a win for Perth-based Stuart Miller who is new to farming after buying Kinjarling Downs, Donnybrook.
Former Landmark representative turned cattle producer and adviser Paul Torrisi bought several heifer lines at Boyanup and sought only mature females at Mt Barker to give a spread of age groups in the foundation of what will be a 150-head breeding herd.
He said the Ridgways' cattle were big, roomy breeders and their background of Koojan Hills and Denbar were good bloodlines.
He also paid $2120 for 17 mated 4yo cows; $2060 for eight mated 4yo cows and $2040 for another eight 4yo.
His final pen of the Ridgways' cattle comprised 10 7yo cows with calves at foot bought for $1900.
The Ridgway family's older cows received support from L Blyth, Manjimup, whose buying power extended to $2120 and $2060 for eight 4yo and eight 5yo mated cows respectively.
All the Ridgway females were joined to Angus bulls and due to calve from March 12 to May 4.
Sandy Lyon, Willyung Farms, Albany, was among the bigger vendors after a decision to reduce numbers in response to the loss of a farm lease.
His cattle topped at $1820 for 20 4yo Angus females joined to Charolais and Sussex bulls with a calving date from March 27 to June 14 and were bought by Yates Family Trust.
p PTIC Angus heifers
Buyers showed they were in no mood to stand in the heat for too long when Barry Panizza, Albany, opened the bidding the instant the auctioneer called for a start on pen one.
He got the pen comprising 10 Angus heifers due to calve to Angus bulls from March 3 to May 6 for $1860 to open his account with annual vendor Warren Forbes' Dundeal Holdings, Narrikup.
Just 15 pens later Mr Panizza had 12 of them and by the end of the day he'd bought 123 head and paid the $2060 top for 10 Dundeal Holdings' 2yo mated Angus heifers and a host of other high prices.
As an annual buyer Mr Panizza was familiar with the Dundeal cattle saying Mr Forbes knew how to present his cattle and they were well proven in his herd.
He was looking for extra numbers because his son Stephen was starting his own enterprise at Torbay and although prices were up he found the change-over was no worse than other years.
Recently he sold 40 old cows for $1200 and this year's replacements were mated heifers instead of the usual combination of mated heifer and cows lines.
Mr Forbes again proved his ability to put together and grow out quality lines of young cattle usually bought privately from local breeders and his rewards were ample.
Mr Panizza bought heifer lines for $2060 (10); $2020 (10) and $2000 (10) from Dundeal before turning his attention to the Ridgways' heifers and paying $2020 for 29 and $2000 for 10.
Ian Smith, Baboo Pastoral Co, Green Range, fared well receiving an $1860 top for 10 Angus heifers due to calve to Coonamble bulls from March 1 to April 30 from Pardee Grazing, Kendenup.
p Angus cows and calves
This small category peaked at $2000 for a pen of eight cows with their first calves at foot.
The calves were 3 to 4-months-old old and were offered by PA & DA Wallace, Manypeaks.
MJ Blyth & Co, Manypeaks, offered cow and calf units selling a pen of nine for $1980 to Ray Williams, Denmark, with a second pen making $1900 when knocked down to DJ & BE Bell, Albany.
p PTIC Angus-Friesian cross heifers
The sole first cross heifer vendor Greg Woodward & Co, Narrikup, shared the high prices receiving $2000 for seven bucket-reared heifers mated to Angus bulls and due to calve from March 16 to May 22.
They were bought by Mike Green, Youngs Siding, with other Woodward heifers in this category making $1940 for seven paid by RF & O Williams, Denmark and $1920 paid by FV Hortin & Son, Bornholm, for 13.
p Unmated Angus-Friesian cross heifers
The Woodward family topped the unmated bucket-reared Angus-Friesian cross heifer category gaining a $1440 high paid by N Love & J Roche for 14 that were 18 to 24mo.
Several other unmated lines from other vendors gave buyers the opportunity to get younger first-cross females from as low as $680.
The Southden Trust, Redmond, was the only other vendor to offer unmated Angus-Friesian cross heifers and received a $1220 top for nine 8-11mo from an agent who had still not advised the buyer's name at the end of the day.
p Mated heifers (other breeds)
In the vast sea of black cattle there were a few mated heifers lines representing breeds other than Angus but a pair of big rising 3yo Blonde D'Aquitaine heifers account KR Beal, Torbay, stood out.
They fetched $1640 paid by M & L Furfaro & Sons, Waroona, one of many buyers who travelled from the west coast for the prestigious event.
Central Stockcare Pty Ltd put up a single pen of six mated Charolais heifers which sold to Broomehill farmers PJD & ML Holmes for $1600.
p Mated cows (other breeds)
Central Stockcare topped the big run of grey females with a pen of nine mated Charolais cows ranging from 3-7yo.
The cows, joined to Charolais bulls, were bought by PJD & ML Holmes for $1660 who followed it with the next pen of the same description for $1640.
RG Major & Co, Williams, was dispersing a Monterey blood herd they bought in early 2014.
They put up 63 three to 6yo Murray Grey and Murray Grey cross females joined to Willandra Red Angus bulls in eight lines with their $1380 top price obtained for two pens paid firstly by Yolander Holdings then again by the Muresk Institute which bought 32 of Major's cows.
The best of the red cows came in the form of seven Red Angus second and third calvers mated to Simmental bulls offered by Willowbank Agistment Centre and bought by GJ Smith for $1780.
R & HM Turner, Tone Bridge, sold their entire 32-head offering presented in four lines to near neighbour Wingalup Grazing.
They peaked at $1760 paid for a pen of seven mature age Lincoln Red cross cows in calf to a Simmental bull.