PROCESSORS and lotfeeders went beyond 2018 price levels to make the 28th annual Independent Rural Agents elite vealer and breeder AuctionsPlus sale a success at Pemberton on Monday.
The auction grossed $1,574,830 and averaged $1103 a head for the 1428 sold under competition from 33 registered bidders.
This compared with last year when it grossed $1.9 million and averaged $1113 across the 1746 head sold in a two-hour selling session.
Two benchmark lines proved the sale was still upward bound despite tougher seasonal conditions.
G & B Bendotti, Pemberton, sold a line of seven Angus steer vealers for $1410 a head - well above last year's $1281 top for the same category and mated heifer specialist Dennis Barnsby, Pemberton, sold his top line of 12 PTIC Angus heifers for $2000, equalling last year's top mated heifer price.
The values showed the industry's overriding buoyancy for slaughter cattle enabling vendors to shrug off the subdued interest in heifers and breeding lines.
Slaughter and feedlot cattle reached their reserve prices within minutes of the auction starting but action was sluggish on the usually snapped-up heifer lines, leading to a lower than usual clearance with 19 percent of the catalogue either failing to receive a bid or not reaching their set reserves.
The catalogue received 1910 presale reviews compared with 2598 last year and on sale day there were 350 online bids compared with 534 last year.
Apart from the registered buyers there was a further 34 viewers logged in to follow the activity and the selling session was wrapped up in just over an hour.
In further analysis this year's catalogue included less than one per cent of cattle that didn't carry a proportion of Angus breeding and only 10 of the 73 lines of offer were not full blood Angus.
(Unless otherwise specified all lines quoted are Angus.)
IRA principals Colin Thexton and Kerry Bendotti co-ordinated the 1763-head offering sourced from 26 vendors stretching from Northcliffe to Boyup Brook and received glowing acknowledgement from AuctionsPlus chief executive officer Angus Street for their enduring success with the sale.
"Colin is one of the longest standing, most trusted and highest respected assessors," Mr Street said.
"His attention to detail has always been about getting value for clients and he has been ultra-passionate about the agricultural sector and we are pleased he has chosen to partner with AuctionsPlus.
"He thinks differently and he has pushed us to improve.
"We thank him for his ongoing support and congratulate him on his 28th sale."
The $1410 top selling 10-11 month old vealers from G & B Bendotti weighed 455.7kg and realised 309.4c/kg live (on-property without curfew) or 558.6c/kg DW.
Six lines of vealers were offered with the $1360 second top price paid for 34 9-10mo steers, weighing 442.7kg from Justin Omedei's Bluestream Properties at Northcliffe.
It equated to 307.2c/kg live or 551.7c/kg DW.
Mr Omedei went home pleased with the day after selling 15 heifer vealers weighing an average 419.1kg for $1180 equating to 281.6c/kg live or 518c/kg DW).
Three lines of steer weaners shared the $1160 top price and the first to achieve it was a draft of 75 8-10mo cattle from the Bendotti family.
They weighed an average 387.5kg and returned 299.4c/kg live or 550.6c/kg DW.
Next was Maurice Humphrey, trading as R & M Humphrey, Quinninup, with 29 7-8mo steers averaging 385kg that made 301.3c/kg live or 559.6c/kg DW and then Kevin Collins, Collins Bros, Pemberton, received the same for four 5-6mo head, averaging 359.8kg to give values of 322.4c/kg live and 598.9c/kg DW.
Two big weaner steer lines came from first-time vendor JS & EN Bagshaw, Boyup Brook, who nominated 74, followed by a further 100 all 6-7 months of age.
The first draft averaging 370.3kg fetched $1115 or 300.3c/kg live (542.1c/kg DW) and the second averaging 330.3kg sold for $1095 or 331.5c/kg live.
Three other notably big lines were 53 steers aged 5-6mo and weighing 303.8kg from Collins Bros, that made $1055 or 347.3c/kg live; 62 steers aged 6-7mo weighing 319.1kg from Henderson-Glendale, Mayanup, returned $1070 or 335.3c/kg live; and 110 7-8mo steers weighing 326.7kg from Doug Cumming, Jarrahlea Pty Ltd, Mayanup, made $1085 and realised 332.1c/kg live.
AuctionsPlus officially reported weaned steers at 300-355c/kg live to average 323c/kg.
TP & GL Collins, Pemberton, took liveweight honours when they sold four 5-6mo weaners weighing 263kg for 355.5c/kg or $935.
A small category of heavy unweaned steers weighing about 375kg was overlooked by buyers, but lighter unweaned animals were well sought after and were quoted by AuctionsPlus as selling from 300-336.5c/kg live and averaging 313c/kg.
A single line of 53 15-18mo yearling steers averaging 427.7kg offered by first time vendor Gumnut Downs, Balingup, made $1300 to return 304c/kg live or 561.1c/kg DW.
Unweaned heifers topped at $1000 for a 15 7-8mo line offered by JCC Love Family Trust, Pemberton, weighing 352.3kg to be 283.9c/kg live.
A second lighter 20-head draft of the Love's unweaned heifers weighing 290.8kg made $820 or 282c/kg live.
The official AuctionPlus quote for unweaned heifers was from 281-284c/kg live, averaging 282c/kg.
The Bendotti family was the only vendor to succeed in selling heifer weaners with a draft of 18 8-10mo weighing 338.4kg making $950 or 280.7c/kg live.
Mr Thexton said it was not uncommon for the sale to pass in some lines but it was unusual that so many lines were overlooked in this year's sale, but the day's prices were still an outstanding result.
"We knew the market for heavy steers had eased but we decided to stick to the $3/kilogram on-farm reserve," Mr Thexton said.
"The result reflected the breeding, quality of cattle, time, passion and effort the vendors have put into their cattle and it was that that got the rewards today."
The number of unsold heifers was not a reflection of the industry's future with Mr Thexton saying it was unbelievably strong but graziers had reacted to seasonal conditions.
As for unsold heifers, they could stay on-farm, illustrating the benefits of the on-line selling.
This year's sale marked 20 years of selling PTIC heifers for Pemberton specialist Dennis Barnsby who achieved the $2000 top for mated heifers and was the only successful seller in this category.
There were six lines of PTIC heifers, including three totalling 36 head offered by Mr Barnsby, but all other lines failed to meet their $1900 reserve.
More successful were two lines of PTIC second calvers that topped at $1825 for a draft of seven offered by N & A Stenbeck, Northcliffe, and were bought by Bluestream Properties.
NW Harding, Boyup Brook, sold four PTIC second calvers for $1800 and their second draft of 11 4-8year old PTIC cows fetched $1500.