THE strong south-easterly wind blowing through Jerdacuttup last Friday had nothing on the electrifying Lawsons Angus bull sale, where prices hit a high of $10,000 and a 100 per cent clearance was achieved.
The sale was extremely strong from start to finish and averaged an impressive $5836, ensuring this year's WA bull selling season got off to a flying start.
With a large contingent of loyal clients, who have already tasted the success of using Lawsons genetics, and a number of first time buyers wanting to secure bulls from the stud in attendance, bidding was fast and furious throughout the catalogue of more than 100 bulls.
As a result the Elders auctioneering team of Don Morgan and Nathan King had no problems extracting bids from the 39 registered bidders who came from not only the local Esperance area but also from further a field including as far north as Badgingarra and as far west as Manjimup and Boyup Brook
Even the strong south-easterly winds whipping up plenty of dust didn't deter buyers as they chased the bulls that best suited requirements to ensure they keep their herds moving forward, so they can cash in on the returns of the extremely positive cattle market.
By the end of the sale Mr Morgan and Mr King had cleared all 102 bulls offered by stud principals Harry and Ruth Lawson for a gross just shy of $600,000 and an average of $5836.
It was a great result for the stud and all the sale figures were well up on last year's sale which is no doubt a reflection of where the cattle market is currently sitting and the performance clients are achieving from using Lawsons bulls.
When compared to last year's sale the average was up $659 and the stud sold an extra 27 bulls under the hammer.
In last year's sale the stud offered 92 bulls and sold 75 under the hammer to a top of $21,000 and an average of $5177.
Mr Lawson said they were delighted with the final sale result.
"We love WA, in the dust and the wind our clients still front up and support us," he said.
"Again and again we love the WA resilient farmers, our clients in Esperance were fighting fires only days before the sale, but they still managed to turn up and buy, which is very gratifying.
"Our aim whatever the number of bulls we offer is to average in the $5000-$6000 range, because it means we go home happy and our clients go home happy as they still purchase high quality bulls at an affordable price.
"We achieved that today despite significantly increasing the number of bulls we sold on last year, so we are extremely happy.
"We want to make world class genetics affordable to all WA farmers."
Mr Morgan said for the first on-property bull sale of the season it was an extremely pleasing result and a positive start to the selling season.
"It was an excellent sale in terms of both clearance and average, which were both up on last year," he said.
"The bulls were in great condition and carried top figures yet again, they were a credit to the work put in by the Lawsons team.
"Competition was strong right through the sale with strong support from repeat buyers, who know how the genetics perform, and new buyers chasing the genetics for the first time."
With a classy line-up of 18-month-old and younger Angus bulls on offer, which were extremely even, it was not surprising prices were very even throughout as buyers could operate on the entire catalogue knowing all the bulls would do the job they wanted.
But there was one bull that stood slightly above the rest and when it entered the ring in lot three, buyers were sparked into action and got serious in their bidding.
Bidding started at $7000 on the well-balanced, curve bending Lawsons Bartel E7 K426 and the price quickly rose as buyers from all areas threw in bids.
In the end it was return buyer Todd Quinlivan, Quintarra Farms, Esperance, who had the final $10,000 bid on the upstanding 658kg, June 2014-drop sire.
But it wasn't only the eye appeal of K426, which was sired by Ayrvale Bartel E7, which stood out to the buyers, it also had the numbers to match.
It has EBVs of +2.7 birthweight, +51, +89 and +118 for 200, 400 and 600-day weights, +22 milk, +0.5 rib and rump fat, +6.5 EMA and +2.9 IMF as well as indices of +$157 grainfed, +$124 domestic, +$142 Angus breeding and +$133 grassfed.
These figures put K426 in the top 1pc of the breed for the domestic and grainfed indices and top 10pc for 400-day growth and IMF.
Mr Quinlivan is no stranger to the Bartel E7 bloodline as he has purchased bulls carrying the bloodline for the past two years and has been extremely happy with their performance.
"They are good balanced bulls and while they are good heifer bulls you lose nothing in terms of growth with them," he said.
"This bull is a certainly a curve bender.
"He has a low birthweight and good calving ease combined with good growth.
"He is also a really well-balanced bull to look at."
Along with securing the top-priced bull Mr Quinlivan also secured another three bulls which were all by Lawsons Novak E313 for $8250 (twice) and $8000.
The Quinlivan family run 600 pure Angus breeders and sell the majority of their calves as weaners direct to lotfeeders and in sales on AuctionsPlus. They also sell some heifer calves as mated heifers.
This year already the family has sold 150 steer weaners to lotfeeders for an average of just under $1000.
Mr Quinlivan said the family had been buying from Lawsons for the past 12 to 13 years, even before the stud set up a base in WA and continue to return to the stud to buy genetics because of the results they were achieving.
"The Lawsons cattle have great performance, good calving ease, good fat figures to work with and are docile," he said.
"Also it is easy to find a market for cattle carrying Lawsons' genetics as they are becoming more and more recognised.
The second top price in the sale was $9500 and this was paid by Kevin Henderson and Jo Melville, Henderson Glendale, Boyup Brook, who have been buying off the stud for the past few years.
They paid $9500 for a GAR Prophet son, Lawsons Prophet K443 in lot 48.
The long, deep, 628kg, July-drop calf had calving ease with a birthweight EBV of +2.9, while it ranked in the top 5pc of the breed for its domestic index (+$119) and top 10pc for 400-day weight (+90).
Independent Rural Agents principal Colin Thexton, Pemberton, who is the agent for Henderson Glendale, said K443 was an outstanding young calf and would be a new bloodline for the herd.
"He has a great temperament and excellent figures," Mr Thexton said.
The operation, which is running 160 breeders and moving towards a pure Angus breeding herd, also paid $8000 for another GAR Prophet son, Lawsons Prophet K374, which is in the top 1pc of the breed for domestic index, top 5pc for 400-day weight and top 10pc for EMA and grainfed index and $7500 for a Bartel E7 son, Lawsons Bartel E7 K688, which is in the top 1pc for the domestic and grainfed indices, top 5pc for 400-day weight and IMF and top 10pc for EMA.
The operation rounded out its purchases securing a Dunoon Goodthing G167 son late in the catalogue for $3750 to finish with a team of four bulls at an average of $7188.
A third bull sold for more than $9000 when Elders Albany was written in to the sheets as the buyer of lot 56 Lawsons Novak K396 at $9250.
The bull was sired by Novak E313 and is rated in the top 5pc of the breed for IMF with an EBV of +3.2 and is above the breed averages for 200, 400 and 600-day weights with figures of +47, +86 and +112.
Albany concern Chimera Trust was also buying at the top end and paid to $8750 for a Novak E313 son, Lawsons Novak K836 in lot 82, which is in the top 5pc for 400-day weight (+91) and top 10pc for IMF (+2.8).
It also secured another two bulls at $7750 and $3250 to finish with an average of $6583 across its team of three.
The Wilkinson family,R Wilkinson, Badgingarra, made sure their long trip to the sale wasn't a waste of time, outlasting the competition to pay $8500 for Lawsons Bartel E7 K393 in lot six.
The Bartel E7 son is in the top 1pc for domestic index (+$121) and grainfed index (+$160) as well as top 5pc for IMF (+3.3).
The Bagshaw family, JS & EN Bagshaw, also had a long trip to the sale coming from Boyup Brook and they didn't go home empty handed either.
They purchased four Bartel E7 sons at an average of $7813.
Their team topped at $8250 for Lawsons Bartel E7 K811 that had figures which placed it in the top 1pc of the breed for 400-day weight, grainfed index and domestic index; top 5pc for IMF and top 10pc for EMA.
Closer to home Wes Graham, WJ & FJ Graham, Esperance, purchased three bulls at an average of $7583 and top a top of $8250 which he paid for Lawsons Jimmy K1754 in lot one.
The bull was dropped in August 2014-drop and sired by Bartel E7.
Jimmy K1754 is the highest ranked Bartel E7 son from all calves born in 2014 and fifth highest ranked E7 son for the grainfed index from the more than 1500 registered bulls.
AuctionsPlus had the largest number of bulls knocked down to it with 10 listed against its account for between $5500 and $7750.
The single biggest buyers in the sale were Michael and Margaret Gorman, M & M Gorman Pty Ltd, Wellstead, who were buying for the first time from the stud.
The Gormans, who mate 560 Angus and Angus-Murray Grey cross breeders, purchased eight bulls to a top of $7000 and an average of $5031.
As they will mate 160 heifers this year they were on the lookout for heifer mating bulls.
Another bigger buyer was Independent Rural Agents principal Colin Thexton, who had a contingent of buyers at the sale and between them they had 16 bulls knocked down to Mr Thexton's account for between $3000 and $9500, including the four purchased by Henderson Glendale.
Three buyers each bought six bulls and these included return buyers Bott Livestock Trust, Esperance, which averaged $5292 across its team, AJ & ME Leiper, Esperance, who averaged $4167 and Wildy Farm, Esperance, which averaged $3083.
The Lawson family also showed their support to the WA agricultural community by the donating the proceeds of one bull in the sale to the WA bush fire appeal and in particular the farmers affected by the fire.
The bull in lot 100 created plenty of interest and a spirited bidding melee before finally being knocked down at $6000 to long-time Lawsons client and now new business partner Carpenter Beef Pty Ltd.
Along with securing this bull Carpenter Beef purchased another two bulls at $7500 and one at $6000.