FOR a second year running Angus bulls claimed bragging rights at the annual Monterey on-property production sale at Karridale last week, claiming both top price honours and top average honours.
Like other sales this season, competition wasn't as strong as past years on the quality offering of Murray Grey and Angus bulls and females presented by stud principals Gary and Julie Buller.
Despite a solid buying list, which topped the 60 mark, there was reduced competition due to the tough season across WA and the drought conditions over the past couple of years in the Eastern States, meaning the auctioneering tag team of Landmark's Tiny Holly and James Culleton and Elders' Nathan King had to work hard to draw bids from the crowd throughout the sale.
However when the buyers, who came as far north as Jurien Bay and east to Esperance as well as the Eastern States, did see something they liked they weren't afraid to bid up which saw prices top at $12,000 for an Angus bull and $8500 for a Murray Grey sire.
In the end the joint selling team cleared 58 of the 74 Murray Grey and Angus bulls (78 per cent) for an average of $5703, which was back $679 on the 2019 result when 55 of 79 bulls (70pc) were sold for an average of $6382.
When it came to the female side of the sale, it was even tougher for the selling team to find new homes for the 37 registered Murray Grey and Angus mature females and their calves offered.
In the end only nine of the cows sold under the hammer to a top of $3500 paid for a PTIC Angus cow.
Mr Holly said given the seasonal conditions the bull offering sold well and the average was up slightly on expectations.
"The presentation of bulls was excellent and was once again supported by both local buyers and interstate competition," Mr Holly said.
"Buyers were selective in their purchases due to seasonal conditions which has left many producers short of feed and water.
"The bulls that sold, sold to solid competition and values across both breeds.
"When it came to the female offering buyers were very selective on them, no doubt a result of the season.
"The majority of the catalogue of females was overlooked even though values were in on the buyer's side."
Mr King said the sale featured an extremely even line-up of bulls across both breeds.
"Given the season I think the clearance for both the Angus and Murray Grey bulls was good at 78pc," Mr King said.
"In terms of prices they were consistent and solid throughout with no extreme highs.
"The female side of the sale was tough, with little buyer interest, which was probably not unexpected given seasonal conditions both locally and interstate."
The first of two runs of Angus bulls kicked off the sale and solid competition on the quality line-up of 38 bulls saw 29 sell under the hammer to the sale's $12,000 top price and an average of $6276, which was back $552 on last year's Angus result.
In comparison in last year's sale the stud sold 32 from 40 Angus bulls for a $6828 average and to a high of $19,000.
The sale's $12,000 top price was set early in the first Angus run when Monterey Paratrooper P90 entered the ring in lot three.
Mr Holly secured an opening bid of $7000 for the long, deep sire and from there the price rose quickly as Landmark Boyup Brook agent Jamie Abbs and Landmark southern livestock manager Bob Pumphrey battled it out.
In the end Mr Abbs prevailed when he had the final bid at $12,000 on the bull for an undisclosed WA producer.
Mr Abbs said the buyer had inspected the Monterey sale team on-property before the sale and picked Paratrooper P90 out on both its breeding pedigree and overall outlook.
"He expresses excellent muscling, shape and softness and is a great sire prospect," Mr Abbs said.
The 912 kilogram sire, is a son of Monterey Monolith M47, which was sold to Tony Mostert, Scott River Trading, Karridale, at the 2018 sale for $13,500 and it showed outstanding volume and softness in the ring.
But Paratrooper wasn't only easy on the eye it also excelled with its raw scan figures having the an impressive eye muscle area (EMA) of 122cm2 and the second highest IMF scan in the team of 6.8pc.
Like the 2018 sale Mr Mostert was again active at the top end of the Angus catalogue and secured the sale's $11,500 second top price bull.
Mr Mostert bid to $11,500 to secure the 950kg Millah Murrah Docklands J193 son, Monterey Phoenix P157 in lot eight.
The late June 2018-drop bull was described in the catalogue to be an impressive youngster with colossal weight, depth, softness and a long, strong topline.
On the scan front it scanned 116cm2 for EMA, 6.2pc for IMF and 41cm for scrotal circumference.
Also surpassing the five figure mark in the Angus run was Monterey Professor P21 when it was knocked down for $10,500.
The 948kg son of Millah Murrah Complement L238 was also knocked down to Mr Abbs who this time announced the buyer as Peter Ryan & Co, Bunbury.
Along with showing off plenty of softness and great weight for age in the ring, the bull had scans of 123cm2 EMA, 7.1pc IMF and 45cm scrotal circumference.
A fourth bull hit five figures in the Angus run when Manypeaks producers JP & J Davies secured the first bull offered - Monterey Paymaster P55 - at $10,000.
The 966kg Paymaster, which oozed plenty of style in the ring, is a son of Millah Murrah Lakeside L69 and a two-year-old Millah Murrah Docklands J193 daughter.
It had raw scans of 121cm2 EMA, 6.2pc IMF and 47cm scrotal.
There were a number of buyers who bought multiple Angus sires and the one to have the biggest influence on the sale was David Reid, DJ & HM Reid, Nillup, who purchased three bulls to a top of $8500 and an average of $6667.
Mr Reid bid to $8500 for a Millah Murrah Docklands J193 son which weighed in at 894kg and had scans of 115cm2 EMA and 5.9pc IMF.
Milyeanup Pastoral Co, Milyeanup, matched Mr Reid for numbers but not prices when it secured three bulls at a $4833 average, while T & L O'Driscoll & Sons, Grass Valley and K & M Taylor, Capel, were other multiple buyers securing two bulls each at averages of $5500 and $4750 respectively.
Murray Grey Bulls
Following the sale opening run of Angus bulls, the first of the top line up 36 Murray Grey bulls were offered.
While values were back on last year's sale, there was a decent lift in clearance with 29 of 36 Murray Grey bulls selling under the hammer to average $5129.
This was back $632 on last year's sale average where 23 of 39 were cleared at auction to average $5761.
Twenty-plus year Monterey Murray Grey clients Dean Rusmassen and Marilyn Hansen, Shell-Dee Murray Grey stud, Kingaroy, Queensland, returned to the sale again this year to invest in a new stud sire for the section's $8500 top price.
Their pick of the team was the silver bull Monterey Plato P22 penned in lot 28.
The 890kg early April 2018-drop bull by Monterey Megaman E158 and out of a two-year-old heifer Monterey Joyce M155 displayed top growth and carcase attributes with figures to match.
Plato scanned 6.2 frame score (FS), 42cm scrotal circumference (SC) and 117cm2 eye muscle area (EMA) and recorded January 2020 Breedplan EBVs in the top 1-5 per cent for 400 and 600-day weights, mature cow weight (MCW) and carcase weight (CW), vealer terminal (VTI) and EU heavy steer (HSI) indexes and top 5-10pc for scrotal size (SC) and supermarket index (SMI).
Mr Rusmassen said their new sire provided a different outcross bloodline to the Shell-Dee stud.
"Nice smooth type bull, beautiful head with a sirey outlook, good bone, feet and legs and a quiet temperament," Mr Rusmassen said.
After battling the prolonged dry period like many other producers in the Eastern States, Mr Rusmassen said they received an early present of 13mm of rain on Christmas Eve and have been fortunate enough to receive significant falls since which has dramatically changed the landscape of their property.
Elders Margaret River agent Alec Williams. representing long-time buyers of volume numbers at the Monterey at both ends of the market Chris and Daryl Avery, WC, BE & DV Avery, Scott River, finished the sale with five Murray Grey bulls.
The Avery family averaged a healthy $6200 (paying from $4000) for their team of bulls and paid to the breed's $8000 second top price for two of the bulls.
They first paid top dollar for Monterey Paymaster P70 penned in lot 27, a thumping 926kg soft silver bull by Monterey Lucky Strike L100.
Paymaster was another two-year-old heifer's calf Monterey Melissa M129 and scanned 6.8 FS, 40cm SC and 115cm2 EMA, while also performing strongly in its figures ranking in the top 1-5pc for 400 and 600-day weight and MCW, CW, VTI, HSI and top 5-10pc for 200-day weight and SMI.
Six lots later the Averys paid $8000 for another Lucky Strike son Monterey Panther P40, a bull suited to heifer joinings with its below average birthweight and conformation.
The 852kg mid-April 2018-born silver bull out of Monterey Miss Magnola M122 scanned 6.4 FS, 38cm SC and 110cm2 EMA.
Daryl Avery said they have purchased bulls from the Monterey stud for at least 15 years and because they produced top calves ideal for their operation, they return to the sale each year.
The bulls will join the operation's sire battery and be used in its breeding herd of about 800 Murray Grey and Gelbvieh cross breeders.
The operation grows its calves out and sells them off grass at about 18-months-old.
The $7500 third top Murray Grey bull price was also paid on two occasions.
First to bid was Mr Abbs representing a New South Wales buyer for Monterey Prospect P18, an early April 2018-born silver son of Ayr Park Honda H57.
Prospect was the heaviest Murray Grey bull in the sale at 946kg and also scanned the highest EMA 120cm2 and IMF 6.9pc.
Pearce Watling, Elders Donnybrook, representing South Australian buyer Jalacase Investments, Jupitor Creek, paid $7500 for Monterey Power Play P64.
The 870kg mid-April, 2018-drop bull by Monterey Hudson H296 scanned 6 FS, 42cm SC and 114cm2 and recorded a strong spread of EBVs including ranking in the top 1pc for milk, top 1-5pc SC, top 5-10pc 200 and 400-day weights, CW and retail beef yield (RBY).
Return South Australian buyers Silver Angus, via phone bids through Elders trainee Callum O'Neill, collected two new silver Monterey bulls for $6000 each.
This included the Murray Grey team leader, a spring 2017-drop rising three-year-old bull by Monterey Hudson H296 and later in lot 32 a late-April 2018 drop son of Monterey Kambalda K135.
Elders WA livestock manager Simon Wilkinson was the run's volume buyer of the Murray Grey line-up, filling an undisclosed order of six bulls at value with five of the bulls knocked down for $4000.
Other multiple Murray Grey accounts with two bulls each were Mr Pumphrey representing AL Hill, Ravensthorpe and Busselton graziers RH Norman & Son.
Manjimup producers D & MC Bevan paid the top Angus female price from the outset with the first PTIC female into the ring knocked down for $3500.
Monterey Elegant L40 was a late March 2015-drop cow by Monterey Far Out F177 and out of a Raff Wizard daughter.
The easy doing breeder is due to calve from March to May to Millah Murrah Tex K37.
The Bevan family also secured a weaned-early, March 2019-drop Angus heifer calf by Millah Murrah Conversion J42 for $1200.
The most dominant buyer of Angus females was GM Atwell, Atwell stud, Canning Vale, who finished the sale with three PTIC females paying from $2750 to $3250, a cow calf unit for $2500 and a weaned heifer calf for $1750.
The Atwell family's top bid went to a rising five-year-old PTIC Angus cow Monterey Dutchess L98.
L98 was sired by AAR Ten X 7008 and out of a Lawsons New 1407 daughter and is due to calve in April also to Tex K37.
The Thompson family, Venturon Angus stud, Boyup Brook, secured two Monterey females, paying $2750 for a rising 10yo cow by New Zealand sire Springdale Herco 600 and PTIC to Millah Murrah Reality K61 to calve in March and $1500 for mid-May 2019-born weaned heifer calf by Tex K37.
Margaret River graziers GJ & KL Cain collected three weaned Angus heifers, ranging from April to June 2019-drop and of different breeding paying from $1300 to $1500, while MV & JA Fisher, Yallingup and Bec Van Wingerden, Nillup, paid $2500 for a PTIC cow calf unit.
Murray Grey females
The line-up of Murray Grey females found the going tough but a few producers took the opportunity to acquire some top quality maternal Monterey genetics at value.
Topping the Murray Grey female prices was a rising 8yo PTIC cow Monterey Miss Magnolia H64 and a promising bull calf at foot that sold to the bid of Josh Hynes, Elders Midland, on behalf of RJ & MC Mitchell, Chidlow, for $2750.
The daughter of Yamba Bonanza B32 was PTIC to Monterey Karate Kid while the early August 2019 born bull calf was sired by Monterey Matrix M109.
The Mitchells also snapped a weaned Juggernaut J18 sired mid-April 2019-drop bull calf for $1500.
A number of heifer calves weaned from the sale females were offered separately and found new homes.
Paying the $2000 top price for a heifer calf was Ricky Casagrande, RC stud, Dardanup, for an early April 2019-drop calf by Monterey Juggernaut J18.
Mr Casagrande went on to secure a further two April and May 2019-drop heifer calves both sired by Matrix M109.