ALL the regular vendors at this year's Landmark Mt Barker Blue Ribbon breeders sale were well and truly rewarded for their efforts as values accurately reflected the recent spike in Statewide cattle prices.
Unlike the past two years when Mother Nature turned on baking hot and wet and wild weather, this year's auction took place in near-perfect conditions, which set the scene for all but one lot of the 656 head yarded PTIC heifers and cows and unmated heifers, to be snapped up under the hammer by discerning cattlemen from throughout the State.
While there weren't quite as many cattle in this year's sale, values were up on last year and an overall top price of $3340 was set by a pen of Angus-Friesian cross heifers.
Mated Angus heifers topped at $3020 four times and the $2539 overall sale average surpassed that of last year by a whopping $958, when 794 head were put up for sale.
Unlike last year, more than 130 registered buyers weren't put off by unseasonal weather conditions or the need to bank recent calf earnings and instead were keen to reinvest the fruits of their hard work in strengthening their cattle operations with tried and tested bloodlines.
By day's end all but one of the yarded pens sold at vendor reserves to bank a gross total of $1.665 million which was up on last year's $1.255m taking.
This year's final outcome also smashed the Blue Ribbon breeders sale's previously held record gross figure of $1.431m set in 2015.
Mated Angus heifers
Like every year the sale pens were brimming with beautiful, big PTIC Angus heifers bred from some of the best seedstock in the State.
Landmark auctioneer Harry Carroll kicked off the offering by congratulating vendors on the quality and temperament of the line-up as well as mentioning that it was a smaller yarding this year, possibly due to the fact solid beef prices had encouraged producers to hold onto more replacements to breed from in the upcoming season.
The heifers averaged $2730 and topped at $3020 four times.
Warren Forbes and his son Glen, Dundeal Holdings, Narrikup, were on hand to see their 113-strong offering snapped up by a range of buyers including LB & KR Honey and Arizona Farms, Lake Grace, who took home two of the four top-priced pens of 10.
The entire two-year-old Dundeal Holdings line, which mainly stood in the first 10 pens, was of Coonamble breeding and had been joined back to an Angus bull to calve down from March 1-May 3.
The line cemented the Forbes family as one of the true masters of breeding, growing out and offering highly reputable Angus heifers based on superior quality genetics.
William Bay Farms, Denmark, also paid $3020 for a pen of 10 Coonamble blood, 20-22mo heifers due to drop their Angus calves from March 1-April 29.
The pen was just one of six put up for sale by regular vendors, the Smith family, Baboo Pastoral Co, Green Range.
The remaining $3020 pen was one of four yarded by Gatti Brothers, Redmond and sold to HM & OE Hopkins, Busselton.
The 11 heifers were also joined to an Angus bull and due to calve from March until May.
In the volume buying stakes it was Landmark Boyanup agent Chris Waddingham, who secured the highest numbers.
Mr Waddingham procured 11 pens (109 head) from the Dundeal Holdings, Baboo Pastoral Co, Gatti Sawmill, Narrikup and Gatti Brothers, Narrikup, offerings for a number of undisclosed buyers.
Albany buyer Barry Panizza, BJ Panizza Family Trust, was also recognised in the scrum of potential buyers.
He snapped up six pens (49 head) from Dundeal Holdings, MK Sounness & Son, Mt Barker, NG Carlson and Baboo Pastoral Co to a top of $3000.
Mated Angus-Friesian cross heifers
Last year only three pens of Angus-Friesian cross cattle reached the magical $2000 figure but this year was certainly a different story.
The six pen PTIC offering attracted the highest bid of the day and produced an average of $3047.
Marbelup producers GA & MB Clarke, paid $3340 for two PTIC, bucket-reared Angus-Friesian first-cross heifers.
The pair had been joined to an Angus bull, were due to calve from April 17-May 1 and were put up for auction by The Southden Trust.
Mr Panizza was keen to snap up the majority of the Angus-Friesian cross heifer pens from the outset.
His firm bidding style saw him take home four of the remaining five lots including the overall sale's second top-priced lot for which he paid $3220 for eight PTIC bucket-reared Angus-Friesians from RG Woodward & Co, Narrikup.
They too had been joined to an Angus bull and were due to drop from February 25- May 31.
Mr Panizza's buying spree saw him snap up a total of 28 Angus-Friesian cross heifers for an average of $2994.
The remaining heifers were yarded by The Southden Trust, RG Woodward & Co, Trevelys Pty Ltd, Bow Bridge.
Mated beef heifers (other breeds)
Just like in 2016 the dominance of Angus bloodlines within the heifer line-up was almost complete.
A single pen of three Hereford-Limousin first calvers which had been joined to an Angus bull and due to calve from May 27-June 16, brought $1900 on sale day.
The cattle were offered by Whitelakes and sold to PG & E Swallow & Son, Kentdale.
A line of 12 Angus-Limousin cross heifers from Whitelakes also brought $2700 when they were snapped up by Mr Panizza.
Mated Angus cows
The Angus breed proved its popularity once again by bringing in the big money all day.
Following the heifer clearance, PTIC Angus cows were also in high demand and brought with them solid values.
A top of $3160 was paid for nine Dundeal Holdings second calvers rejoined to an Angus bull.
The pen was the second to sell in the Angus cow offering and attracted the attention of buyer Murray River Farms, which helped contribute to the $2743 Angus cow sale average.
Some 165 cattle in 19 pens were yarded for this portion of the sale which also saw a substantial offering of 96 head in 10 pens from K & W Armstrong, Willowbank Agistment, Benger.
The second to fifth calvers had been joined to Limousin and Charolais bulls and were sold to a handful of astute buyers including Narribri Pty Ltd, Torraj Pty Ltd, Serpentine, L Blyth, Manjimup, Murray River Farms and RL Cake & Co, Gairdner for a top of $3020.
MJ Blyth & Co, Manypeaks, Trevelys and Peter Pullan, Boyup Brook, also yarded cows which sold for $1640-$2900 a head.
Mated beef cows (other breeds)
While the offering of other cow breeds was limited it certainly wasn't of a discounted quality.
Willowbank Agistment continued its solid run by offering and selling six of the eight lots on offer including three pens of Chargrey cows, two pens of Simmentals and a single pen of Poll Herefords.
The Chargreys attracted top money with the first two pens of nine selling to AP & JW Whiteford for $2120 apiece.
The third pen was snapped up by GW & RE Fenwick for $2100.
Willowbank's Simmentals topped at $1980 thanks to Mt Barker Transport while the Poll Herefords where knocked down to Phoenix Farm for $1760.
Mated Angus cow calf units
Only one of the two Angus cow calf units offered sold during the sale.
While Willowbank's six cows and their Angus calves were passed-in under the hammer, MJ Blyth & Co made a sale, selling its three PTIC cows and their Angus calves for $2780 to TC Kiddie & Co.
Unmated Angus first-cross heifers
Despite the fact the crowds had thinned by this late stage in the sale, the nine pens of unmated bucket-reared, Angus-Friesian cross heifers on offer also sold well with just one failing to sell under the hammer.
A top price of $1620 was paid by Goodonga Farms, Manjimup, for 12 head from Trevelys Pty Ltd.
The only line of 8-18mo Hereford-Friesian cross heifers offered sold to Elders Manjimup for $1640.