BUTCHERS and processors put their hands in their pockets to the tune of $161,200 at the IGA Perth Royal Show steer and heifer sale on Monday.
For the first time the catalogue included only led steers and heifers following the health and safety motivated closure of unled classes and it proved a resounding success if buyer support was any indication.
In total 73 animals were offered and sold for a $7500 top price, the same as last year, but with a $346 jump in average to $2208 a head.
This equated to a colossal $4.69 a kilogram liveweight average, touted as at least $1 stronger than current saleyard values.
In contrast in 2015, 98 led animals were offered and sold to average $1862 a head.
Unlike last year it was not the Black Dog Ride charity steer that was the sale topper.
That honour went to the grand champion, a Belgian Blue-Angus-Shorthorn cross steer prepared and exhibited by Murdoch University sold through Landmark and bought by Kim McDougall, Harvey Beef, for $7500.
The steer, which was also the champion heavyweight, weighed 520kg with 8mm fat and its price was the highest per kilogram liveweight equivalent at $14.42/kg.
Mr McDougall bought 13 lots for Harvey Beef and 12 for Coles Supermarkets to average $2684 a head for his 25-head haul.
"The quality was outstanding today with plenty of soft-fleshed, easy doing types in that 8-12mm fat range, ideal for today's mainstream supermarket trade," he said.
"I really want to compliment the RAS, the breeders, vendors, handlers and schools for their involvement in putting together such a great catalogue of animals."
Coles Supermarkets national livestock manager Dale Pemberton was also strong in his praise for the event.
"It's great to see the youth involved as they are the succession plan for our industry," he said.
"Coles is very happy to support producers in this way and especially given the outstanding quality that was on offer."
The Landmark and Harvey Beef combination also came to the fore with the sale of the second top-priced animal at $7000, a 552kg steer offered as the Black Dog Ride charity lot which was earlier judged reserve champion extra heavyweight.
The purebred Shorthorn named Winston was bred and donated by Phil Burnett, Crathes Park Shorthorn stud, Busselton and fed by Peter and Judy Milton, Dardanup, with the whole process sponsored by Iluka Resources.
Losing bidder on the steer, which sold for a liveweight per kilogram price equivalent of $12.68/kg, was Michael Borrello, Borrello Beef, Gingin.
Black Dog Ride founder Steve Andrews, who lost his mother to suicide, said in addition to his show appearance, Winston had visited minesites in WA and would be visiting a local school in coming weeks.
"If his presence can start one conversation about depression and suicide prevention that changes or saves one person's life we have made a real difference," Mr Andrews said.
"Farmers are a high at risk group so being here today provides a great opportunity for people to think about their mental health."
Mr McDougall said Harvey Beef was proud to make a contribution to such a worthy cause.
"Depression touches such a broad cross-section of the community it is an issue that requires ongoing awareness and assistance for those going through dark times," he said.
Winston is the eighth Black Dog steer prepared by the Miltons since 2011 and his sale brought the tally achieved to more than $50,000 raised for the cause.
Winston will have a reprieve for a few more weeks of official duties before going to his greater cause at the end of October.
Other entries to go the way of Harvey Beef included the champion lightweight, a 400kg Murray Grey steer with 9mm fat exhibited by Fremantle Docker Hayden Ballantyne's Ballantyne Group and fed by Gary Dimasi, Paradise Beef, Donnybrook, which sold through Elders for equal third top price of $4000 ($10/kg liveweight).
This was the same price paid by Coles Supermarkets for the reserve grand champion and champion mediumweight, a 452kg Limousin steer also from the Murdoch University stable sold through Landmark for an $8.85/kg liveweight equivalent.
Harvey Beef also fancied the champion extra heavyweight at $3100 through Landmark, a 576kg Murray Grey-Charolais-Angus cross steer with 12mm fat exhibited by Andrew, Anne and Harris Thompson, Venturon stud, Boyup Brook.
Coles Supermarkets lodged the winning bid at $2600 through Landmark for the reserve champion heavyweight, a 514kg Angus steer with 11mm fat shown by WA College of Agriculture, Denmark.
Of other broad ribbon winners James and Casey Morris's 363kg Limousin-Murray Grey cross steer with 7mm fat judged the reserve champion lightweight sold to M Princi Butchers through Primaries for $1800.
This was the same price bid by Swansea St Meat Market through Elders for the reserve champion mediumweight, a 413kg Limousin steer with 4mm fat exhibited by Michael Mamo.
Making its 24th buying appearance at the RAS trade cattle sale Johnson Meats, Midland, amassed a team of 13 head at a $1692 average.
"It's a bit of a festival day, but you know you can pay a bit more because the quality is there and the yield is there so you know you will get it back at the end of the day," buyer Terry Russell said.
"It's a selling point for our customers to be involved with these show steers."
Included in the Johnson Meats consignment were a 490kg Square Meater steer with 11mm fat exhibited by Abbey Toghill which made $2500 and a 464kg Speckle Park steer with 9mm fat exhibited by GW & NL Thomas which sold for $2100.
Michael Borrello, Borrello Beef, Gingin, may have missed out on the Black Dog Ride steer, but he still did his bit for charity paying $2400 for a 383kg Blonde d' Aquitaine steer with 2mm fat exhibited by G & J Dimasi with proceeds going to the Melanoma Foundation.
Mr Borrello finished with five animals on the day.
The highest-priced heifer was a 562kg Blonde d' Aquitaine with 9mm fat exhibited by WACOA Denmark which sold for $2300 to Barbaro Bros Meats, which also bid the same to secure a 518kg Charolais-Blonde d' Aquitaine steer with 6mm from Murdoch University in its tally of five head.
Swansea St Meat Markets also fancied a Murdoch University heifer bidding to $2200 for a 497kg Limousin with 9mm fat in their selection of seven head.
Other buyers included Avon Valley Beef, Western Meat Packers, V & V Walsh, Spudshed, Williams Meats and Marco's Fussy Meats.