A CLASSY line-up of Angus bulls and strong support from buyers who knew their potential made for the perfect match at last week’s Blackrock bull sale at Boyanup where prices hit a top of $17,000.
The MacLeay family, Vasse, yarded an outstanding catalogue of bulls that reflected the Blackrock stud’s breeding focus of docility, moderate birthweight, good growth and carcase qualities and it was certainly well received.
With a sizeable buying register consisting of both stud and commercial producers from Walkaway in the north through to Esperance in the south east chasing the Blackrock genetics, there was solid buying support right through the sale, ensuring the increased offering compared to last year didn’t have any trouble finding new homes.
When Elders auctioneer Don Morgan knocked down the last bull, the stud had cleared 59 of the 66 offered at an average of $6729.
These figures meant the average was back $2434 on last year but the number of bulls sold was up by seven.
In last year’s sale the stud offered and sold 52 bulls to a top of $21,000 and an average of $9163.
As part of the offering the stud again gave buyers the chance to purchase yearling bulls, offering 10 youngsters, which were all just under 12 months old, up from five head last year.
These sold to solid support topping at $8000 and averaging $5500.
Mr Morgan said it was a good solid sale with buyers operating from throughout the State.
“Once again there was strong support from return buyers who come back every year chasing the Blackrock genetics because they know they perform,” Mr Morgan said.
“It was pleasing to see the top end bulls sell to strong prices and the majority of them go to commercial producers, however there was also good stud inquiry which added to the competition.
“The average like most sales this year was back and the reduction we saw was in line with the commercial cattle market which is down $150 a head on average compared to last year but it was pleasing to offer and sell more bulls compared to last year.”
With such an even line-up of bulls, it was anyone’s guess for the sale’s top price.
Prices had reached $15,500 by the time the sale got to lot seven but they went even higher a few lots later when Blackrock M42 (AI) entered the ring in lot 12.
Mr Morgan took an opening bid of $6000 on the deep, soft bull and from there the price quickly rose, surpassing $15,500 as he received bids from a number of interested parties.
In the end it was return buyers of five years Graham and Mark Darlow, Darlow Pastoral, Condingup, who came out on top when they had the final bid at $17,000.
The early March 2016-drop bull is an AI son of Booroomooka Galileo G501 and out of Blackrock E136, which carries Booroomooka bloodlines on its dam side and Earley Dateline lines on its sire’s side.
Not only was M42 easy on the eye showing plenty of class and thickness it also had the figures to back it up, ranking highly in a number of categories.
It is in the top five per cent of the breed for birthweight (+1.7), milk (+23) and top 10pc docility (+22), while it is above breed average for growth and carcase traits with EBVs of +44, +85 and +110 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +68 carcase weight (CWT), +0.4 retail beef yield (RBY) and +1.4 IMF.
Graham and Mark Darlow both agreed M42 was a great all-round bull which appealed visually.
“He is a nice soft bull, with good feet and a good topline,” Mark said.
“He also has a good temperament and a low birthweight.
“He is our type of bull and will be a new bloodline for our operation.”
The Darlows, who run 950 Angus breeders, didn’t just take home the top-priced bull, they selected another five to finish with a team of six at an average of $9333.
Also in the Darlows’ purchases at $10,000 was Blackrock M124 (AI) in lot five, a son of PA Power Tool 9108.
M124 is in the top 5pc for docility (+27) and milk (+22), plus top 15pc for 600-day weight (+120).
The Darlows also paid $9500 for Blackrock M53 (AI) in lot one which was their number one pick and were surprised to get it for what they did and also $9500 for Blackrock M229 in lot four.
M53 is a son of Blackrock F3 and is in top 5pc for 600-day weight and top 10pc for 200 and 400-day weights.
The family, retains a percentage of their heifer calves each year as future breeders while the rest of their heifers along with all their steer calves are sold to Karlgarin lotfeeder Todd Fotheringhame at 10-11 months old.
Prior to going to Karlgarin the are weaned calves and backgrounded on stubbles for six weeks.
Last year their line of 430 steer calves averaged 374kg into the feedlot.
Mark said they have returned to Blackrock to buy over the past five years, not only because is it easy to pick out the bulls they want as the catalogues are even but also because the Blackrock cattle have good feet and temperaments, are soft coated and easy doing.
The second top price was $15,500 paid by Epasco Farms, Esperance, for Blackrock M27 (AI) in lot seven.
Unable to attend the sale Epasco Farms manager Rod Taylor left buying instructions with Elders Esperance Michael Forward and with a few swift bids he secured the Te Mania Emperor E343 son for the operation.
Mr Taylor said he selected M27 out of the catalogue on its figures and then got Mr Forward to look over the bull on the day.
“We are into weaner production so I was looking at those traits,” Mr Taylor said.
“I really liked his growth, milk and EMA figures, they are all the important ones.”
M27 has growth figures of +47, +88 and +111 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +13 milk and +5.9 IMF, while its Angus Breeding index is +$132 and its domestic index is +$120.
M27, which will be a new bloodline for the Epasco Farms herd, will be used in a nucleus herd of 90 cows to breed bulls for the operation’s 1100 head commercial herd.
Mr Taylor said the operation had been buying from Blackrock for about 10 years and buy a new bull every three years to keep their genetics modern.
“We find the Blackrock bulls to have a high libido, are docile and easy to handle and perform,” he said.
“We have been getting good feedback from the lotfeeders that buy our calves on their performance.”
Mr Forward also purchased a S Chisum 6175 son, Blackrock M56 (AI), which is in the top 5pc for 200, 400 and 600-day weights at $8500 for the operation as well.
Blackrock M17 (AI) in lot 21 commanded the sale’s $12,000 third top price when it was knocked down to Jim and Pam McGregor, Ardcairnie stud, Kojonup.
M17 is a son of Booroomooka Genius G120 and is in the top 5pc for 600-day weight and docility, plus top 10pc for 200 and 400-day weights, Angus Breeding index and domestic index.
Mr McGregor said M17 ticked all the boxes and all its index and Breedplan figures were where they liked them to be.
The McGregors also purchased another Booroomooka Genius G120 son, a low birthweight bull for $6500, to use over heifers.
Two other bulls sold for $10,000 or more during the sale.
Wokalup producers A & CJ Huts, Aristin Park, who moved back to WA 15 months ago from Victoria and are now running 60 Angus breeders bid to $10,500 for a Blackrock K120 (AI) son which is in the top 5pc for docility at +26.
They also paid $8000 for Blackrock K34 (AI) son.
Return buyer Darwonga Investments, Dardanup, secured Blackrock M77 (AI), which is sired by S Chisum 6175 and is in the top 10-15pc for 200, 400 and 600-day weights at $10,000.
The operation also paid $7250 for a yearling bull sired by Blackrock L62 (AI) which has an Angus Breeding Index of +$134.
The $8000 top-priced yearling bull, Blackrock N113 (AI), was purchased by Peter T Pullan, Claremont, who bid with the assistance of Landmark Boyup Brook agent Jamie Abbs.
The March 2017-drop calf is by Te Mania Garth G67 and in the top 1pc for milk (+24) plus top 15pc EMA (+7.1) and docility (+17).
The clear volume buyer on the day was Landmark Esperance Brindley & Gale agent Peter Gale, who purchased 10 bulls to a top of $8000 and an average of $4950 for the Fowler family, Chilwell, Condingup, who has been buying from the stud for about 10 years.
The Fowlers are currently running a 2100 head pure Angus breeding herd and finish all their steers on grass prior to being sold to Woolworths.
Simon Fowler said the Blackrock cattle are good quality, moderate frame cattle which are well-suited to finishing for the grassfed market.
“They also have a good number of bulls to choose from which makes selections easy,” Mr Fowler said.
Other volume buyers included Glenfield Grazing, Williams, which purchased a team of four sires to a top of $7000 and included two yearlings at $5500 and $5000, while Green Range producers MA & PK Wood paid to $9500 twice for their four selections.
The sale’s most northern buyer R & R Cobley, Walkaway, selected three sires to $7000 and Mr Forward also purchased another three bulls for a separate Elders Esperance account at an average of $5500.