PHENOMENAL was the only way to describe Monday’s Koojan Hills Angus bull sale result.
While this sale has been a benchmark in the Angus bull selling calendar for many years, no one quite expected the sale to be as good as it was, with 65 out of 69 bulls selling to a top of $23,500 and a terrific $10,208 average.
The end result was even more remarkable given most bull sales have taken a hit to averages and clearances this year, but the quality of the Koojan Hills’ bulls shone through to see the average jump by $294, compared to last year’s $9914 with seven more bulls sold under the hammer this year.
The sale gross of $663,500 was up $88,500 on last year’s result, which was set when cattle prices were at record levels in WA.
The success of the sale in the past two years has more than vindicated the decision by Koojan Hills principals, the Metcalfe family to make the significant investment to purchase the stud from Lew Smit in 2016.
Constant drizzle throughout the sale didn’t dampen buyer enthusiasm and when Landmark auctioneer Tiny Holly dropped the gavel at $14,000 on lot one, it was clear that a big day was pending.
In total 89 buyers registered for the sale (this also included buyers for the Melaleuca Murray Grey bull sale held after the Angus sale), but none were more determined than the Bairstow family to get the bull they wanted.
Noel and Luke Bairstow, Arizona Farms, Lake Grace, were in attendance at the sale, and with the assistance of Landmark southern livestock manager Bob Pumphrey, they picked out lot seven as the best sire to use among their substantial Angus breeding herd.
There were several prominent cattle producers competing for the bull, but in the end the Bairstows were successful at $23,500.
The bull, Koojan Hills Hector M3, was an AI son of Coonamble Hector 249, a sire that has earned a terrific reputation in Angus herds across Australia.
Out of Coonamble C68, the March 25, 2016 drop bull was an eye-catching bull that showed plenty of presence in the pen prior to the sale.
Mr Pumphrey, speaking on behalf of the Bairstows, said the bull had very good figures and was the style of bull that suited the Arizona Farms herd.
“He is a solid bull with great thickness and depth, which is what the Bairstows like,” Mr Pumphrey said.
“He is compact with plenty of grunt and will fit in well with the breeding aims of the Arizona Farms cattle operation.”
In terms of its figures, M3 was +43 for 200-day weight, +70 for 400-day weight and +96 for 600-day weight.
It was in the carcase figures that the bull really shone, being in the top 20 per cent of the breed for EMA at +6 and the top 5pc for rib and P8 fat at +2.1 and +2.5.
Its gestation length figure of -7.6 also put it in the top 5pc of the breed.
The chance to add a new bloodline to their herd pushed the Lester family, Lester Pastoral Co, Manypeaks, to set the second top price of the sale of $17,000 for a Thomas Up River 1614 son, Koojan Hills Up River M145.
A US sire, the Up River genetics will be added to the sire battery for the Lester family, who are WA’s sole supplier of grassfed calves to the Graze beef brand sold in Coles Supermarkets.
Kim Lester said the bull’s figures were another factor in their purchase as was its physical outlook.
“He is a moderate-type bull that we can use over either heifers or cows,” Mr Lester said.
“He is nice and soft and will fit in well with our breeding herd.”
M145 had plenty of growth potential with its EBVs reflecting this with a 200-day weight of +48 in the top 20pc of the breed, a 400-day weight of +95 that was in the top 5pc and a 600-day weight of +115 that put in the top 20pc.
It had a terrific milk value of +27 that was in the top 1pc of the breed.
The Lester family also paid $12,000 for lot four in the sale to complete their purchases for the day.
Three bulls hit the $16,500 mark, which was the third top price of the sale.
The first of these bulls is off to the Eastern States with Texas Angus stud, Warialda, New South Wales, successful on a Koojan Hills Reality K49 son, Koojan Hills M46.
In terms of figures, M46 was off the scale.
Its gestation length of -6.4 put it in the top 10pc of the breed, while its 200-day and 400-day weights of +56 and +102 were in the top 5pc.
With a 600-day weight of +138 it was in the top 1pc of the breed, while figures of +76 for carcase weight, +$140 for Angus Breeding Index, +$125 for Domestic Index, +$153 for Heavy Grain Index and +$135 for Heavy Grass Index were all in the top 5pc.
Also hitting the $16,500 mark was regular Koojan Hills’ buyer, Bullrush Farms, Gingin, which paid that value for lot 31, Koojan Hills Gatsby M131.
A son of Milwillah Gatsby G279, the bull was a May 20, 2016, drop calf that was also carrying terrific figures.
Its +51 200-day weight was in the top 10pc of the breed, while its +96 400-day weight was in the top 5pc.
A +130 600-day weight put it in the top 5pc, as did its carcase weight of +76.
On the index values, a +$132 Angus Breeding Index was in the top 10pc, as was a +$148 Heavy Grain Index and its +$125 Heavy Grass Index was also in the top 10pc.
Purchasing three bulls in total and paying $16,000 and $11,000 for the other two, Bullrush Farms was an active supporter throughout the sale.
The other bull to hit $16,500 is also heading to Gingin with Old Bambun Grazing the successful bidder.
A powerful VAR Reserve son, this bull Koojan Hills Reserve M92 was used by the Koojan Hills stud as a yearling.
Its EBVs showed a birthweight of +4.2, +47 for 200-day weight, +84 for 400-day and +109 for 600-day.
Old Bambun also paid $12,500 for a second bull in the sale.
One of Koojan Hills stud’s staunchest supporters, Sue Ray, Holbrook, New South Wales, was back again in force to take home six bulls.
With Elders stud stock manager Tim Spicer taking Ms Ray’s bids over the phone she went to a top of $16,000 for her group of bulls averaging $12,167 in total.
Other bulls to make higher values included the very last bull of the sale, lot 72, which sold for $15,500 to Gabyon Pastoral, Dongara, which also paid $10,000 for a second bull.
Also making good money was lot six, which went for $15,000 to LJ & SM McDougall, Denmark, while locals JP & J Davies also paid that value for one.
Jarrod Carroll, Rayview Park, Kalgan, went to $14,000 for one bull, while FV Hortin & Sons, Torbay, was a multiple buyer taking three bulls to a $14,000 top.
Also taking multiple bulls was GMC Corporation, North Fremantle, which went to a top of $11,000 for four, while M & M Gorman, Wellstead, bought two to a top of $10,000.
After being losing bidder on the top price bull, Gatti Sawmill went to $12,500 to secure lot 23, while MA & PK Wood, Green Range, averaged out their two purchases nicely, paying $12,000 for one and $5000 for the other.
Following the sale, Landmark auctioneer Tiny Holly simply said buyers “came, they saw and they conquered”.
“There was excellent interest from all parts of WA and the Eastern States,” he said.
“The quality presentation of the bulls was again backed up by excellent figures and buyers responded to this with their bidding.
“The top level of bulls sold to top demand and there were significant prices set throughout the catalogue right up to the last bull that sold for $15,500.”