IT was an end of an era for brothers Tony, Peter and Joe Italiano, R & C Italiano & Sons, Wokalup, who recently offered their complete dairy herd for dispersal at the Brunswick Alan Evans selling complex.
It had been many years since a genuine herd dispersal of this quality was offered for auction in WA and producers bid accordingly, pushing prices to a top of $2250 to secure the well-bred Holstein females from the award-winning herd.
It was clear that years and generations of dedication, plus a comprehensive catalogue of up-to-date records of genetics and production, AI breeding information and pregnancy test results supported buyers in selecting their purchases.
The females were ring sold individually which allowed buyers to select cows of their choice based on breeding, production and price.
In the three-hour ring sale auction, the Italiano family sold 108 out of the 162 Holstein females offered under the hammer to a $1634 average and achieved a sale gross of $176,450.
Landmark auctioneer Tiny Holly said the way they presented their cows and the breeding behind them was a credit to the Italiano family.
“The females were bred from a closed herd of 35 years of AI breeding history, thus the females offered had some great figures and production records which I believe were overlooked a bit by buyers on the day,” Mr Holly said.
“The heifers encountered strong competition and as a result averaged $1889, which was the highlight of the sale.
“Buyers were selective in their purchases and values were slightly under expectations, but the quality and presentation of the cows couldn’t have been better, with a number of lots being purchased after auction.
“There was 15 registrations and many were multiple buyers which was very pleasing to see.
“The females went to all parts of the State, from Keysbrook down to Redmond.
“This dairy herd dispersal was a rarity and particularly the calibre of cows that were offered and sold.”
Tony Italiano said he thought the sale went very well considering how tough the season was throughout the winter months and the prices farmers were receiving for their milk.
“A lot of fodder had to be brought in to get us through winter, it being one of the toughest winters I have experienced,” Tony said.
“Due to this we didn’t have a lot of interest in the herd itself which had been on the market since March, therefore the decision to go to auction was made.
“Some older cows were passed in but the younger females with 35 years of breeding records behind them returned good prices.
“The heifer results blew us away with a complete clearance and great average achieved.
“It was very humbling to see that the hard work we’ve put in over the 54 years of being in the industry was noticed in our younger females.”
The first calving heifers were certainly a feature of the day, however it was the last lot of the sale which caused the biggest stir.
The large framed, dry cow sired by End-Road Beacon impressed many and after a bidding battle between many potential buyers, it was knocked down to the Furfaro family, M & L Furfaro & Sons, Serpentine.
Having purchased the first female on offer, Mark Furfaro knew it was only fitting to secure the last and in doing so paid the $2250 top price.
Pregnancy tested in calf (PTIC) and due to calve on January 25 to Lottery, the stylish, three-year-old female had a lot of potential.
The Furfaros, together with Landmark Serpentine representative Ralph Mosca, were the Italiano brothers’ biggest supporters and secured 25 Holstein females altogether at a promising $1622 average.
They bought one February 2016-drop heifer for $1500 and a lactating four-year-old cow at $1850 that expressed 524 days in lactation, producing 11,166 litres of milk, with 3.0 per cent protein and 3.8pc butter fat.
The female was by Carenda Vindicate and PTIC to Wrigley, due on May 5.
The Furfaros also paid $1900 for another dry cow and took home a first calver for $1500.
At the conclusion of the sale, the Furfaro family had purchased the majority of the passed-in lots.
Mark said they were milking 320 head and had purchased heifers privately from the Italiano brothers in the past.
“They are very quite cattle and the heifer fit into our herd nicely,” Mark said.
“We selected some younger, productive females today to replace some of our older milkers.
“The quality was good and the larger framed, good conformation and good udder females we bought should complement our herd very well.”
Cameron Lumsden, Jesmond Dairy, Rosa Glen, knew the types of females he was after and bid strongly to secure the majority of the fresh heifers offered.
Mr Lumsden went to many lengths to close his bids, which resulted in 15 out of the 19 heifers on offer written down on his account at a $1937 average and a top of $2150 twice.
Reaching the $2150 top price initially was a well-grown, milky two-year-old heifer sired by Commander.
A Calvary bred heifer, which calved on November 4, soon followed suit, and Mr Lumsden purchased another six genetically advanced heifers over the $2000 mark.
He also picked up four dry cows and one in lactation for $1800.
At the end of Mr Lumsden’s spending spree, he had secured 20 outstanding Holsteins at an $1845 average and helped the Italiano family achieve a complete clearance in the heifers section of the sale.
Mr Lumsden said he was after quality fresh or dry cows that would fit into his calving pattern well.
“We were looking for younger females that had plenty to give and could replace some of our older genetics,” he said.
“There was a good selection of cows to choose from and we purchased those with good udders and sound feet.”
Kingsley McSwain and his daughter Tahlia, Busselton, found a dozen females which suited their operational needs.
They paid $1800 top for two females in lactation, with a Sabbiona Goldfarm daughter producing 8264L in a 317 days rotation and a protein and butter fat percentage of 3.0pc and 3.9pc respectively.
A single heifer reached $1950 when bought by the McSwains and another two dry cows at $1650 and $1900 were loaded on to the back of the their truck, taking their buying average to $1671.
Dwayne and Colin Neill, Laureldene Farms, Boyanup, didn’t leave empty handed, taking eight cows in lactation at a $1606 average and paid $1850 for a fresh heifer which calved October 9.
The Neills were after females that recorded good butterfat and protein percentages for their 330 milking herd.
Lot 49 surely had this, producing 6966L on a 335-day rotation and expressing 3.1pc for protein and 3.0pc butterfat.
The four-year-old was sired by Carenda Vindicate and the family paid $1900, taking their average to $1633 for nine females purchased.
Sticking to proven genetics in the lactating cow section was Brian Green, Ryeland Dairy, Boyanup, who took home 10 structurally sound females to a top of $1750 and an average of $1560.
Like Mr Green, Witchcliffe dairy producers GR & SA Rowe dug deep to secure 10 females in lactation at a $1550 average, while Troy and Chantel Mostert, P & AM Mostert, Redmond, caused some commotion earlier on in the sale when they paid $1750 for a Mapel Wood Brewmaster daughter that gave 7252L in 386 days.
The Mosterts also bought a dry cow for $1900 which took their average to $1600, while six females in lactation were knocked down to G & PA Angi, Yarloo, at a $1300 average.
HD Harrison & Co, Rosa Glen, pick up an assortment of aged females, paying an average of $1450 and the Fry family, Katandra Park Jerseys and Holsteins, Brunswick, had their eye on one individual.
The Frys paid $1650 for a four-year-old, Cordes-Maid Stonewall-ET sired female in lactation that gave 5285L in a 281-day rotation and expressed 3.3pc for protein and 3.8pc for butterfat.
Kaleden Farms, Harvey, snapped up three classy cows at a $1500 average and FV Russell Hall, Hortin & Sons, Denmark, got his hand on one Penn-England Garrison daughter for $1400.