VENDORS, buyers and agents were in a daze when they walked out of the yards at last week's Nutrien Livestock ninth Special Angus Weaner Sale at Mt Barker after it set a new benchmark for weaner sales in Western Australia.
It wasn't because they had been in the sun too long, but because they couldn't believe what they had just witnessed with the sale grossing more than $2.567 million.
There were plenty of comments from agents and buyers it was the dearest sale they had ever seen.
With plenty of demand from both local and Eastern States buyers, the sea of black Angus calves that had been weaned and treated with Bovi Shield, meaning all the work was done for buyers, wasn't short of attention at any part of the sale.
All Nutrien Livestock, auctioneer Harry Carroll had to do was count up the bids.
But it wasn't only the demand from buyers in the yards that helped achieve the impressive result, there was also plenty of action on the AuctionsPlus platform.
There were 79 registered bidders logged in to the sale on AuctionsPlus from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, the Northern Territory and WA and these bidders placed 318 online bids.
This resulted in 55 pens/749 head (44 per cent of the yarding) being sold to four online buyers one based in Victoria and three from New South Wales.
There were also an additional 45 viewers logged in to watch the auction.
By sale's end all 1696 weaners were headed to new homes at an average of $1514 a head, which was well up on last year's sale where steers sold to a high of $1218 and heifers $967.
Steers made up the majority of the yarding with 1437 head penned and sold from 416-500c/kg.
Steers weighing more than 380kg were the standouts selling from 416-450c/kg
In the heifer pens 259 head were offered and they sold from 390-454c/kg.
The standard for the sale was set from the opening pen when Mr Carroll knocked down the 14 steers averaging 428kg at 450c/kg to an AuctionsPlus buyer putting $1925 a head in the pocket of vendor Darren White, from Casual Flats, Peaceful Bay.
And from there on buyers knew what they had to pay.
Mr White also received $1730 a head for a pen of 14 head averaging 393kg which received a bid of 440c/kg also placed on AuctionsPlus while a third pen of 15 steers averaging 350kg offered by Mr White sold at 442c/kg to Nutrien Livestock, Brunswick/Harvey agent Errol Gardiner, to return $1547 a head.
The Carroll family, Rayview Park, Albany, who have been selling in the sale since its inception, were one of the bigger vendors in the sale offering 208 steers.
The family's steers sold to a top of $1830 for a pen of 12 averaging 434kg which was knocked down at 422c/kg to AuctionsPlus, which also took 17 averaging 402kg and 12 weighing 406kg both at 434c/kg to return $1744 and $1761 to the Carrolls.
The Carroll's steers also must have met the requirements of Graham Brown, who was buying for Princess Royal Trading (PRT), Burra, South Australia, as he picked up nine pens (126 head) weighing between 370-417kg for 420-434c/kg ($1604-$1752).
Three lighter pens of the Carroll steers weighing 341-363kg were bought by Mr Gardiner for a South West grazier at 438-444c/kg ($1491-$1612).
The Bairstow family, Arizona Farms, Lake Grace, were the biggest vendors in the sale trucking in 458 steers which weighed from 294-426kg.
The Lake Grace operation saw a top price of $1799 after 12 steers averaging 426kg from the operation were knocked down to AuctionsPlus at 422c/kg.
Another line of 12 averaging 413kg were also written down to AuctionsPlus this time at 434c/kg to return $1790 a head to the Bairstows.
Mr Brown was also keen on the Arizona Farms' steers for PRT and finished with 12 pens (165 head) which weighed between 367-401kg for 420-434c/kg ($1594-$1725).
Another bigger buyer of the Arizona Farms' steers was Mr Gardiner for his grazier client.
He picked up 10 pens (152 head) in the 329-365kg weight range for 436-448c/kg ($1472-$1616).
Eight pens of lighter steers weighing 294-338kg from the operation sold to AuctionsPlus from 444-462c/kg.
Original sale vendor Mike Twentyman, MI & DM Twentyman, Nanarup, again supported the sale with numbers offering 87 steers which topped out at $1748 when a pen of 13 averaging 403kg was knocked down to Mr Brown for PRT at 434c/kg.
Mr Brown also picked up three other pens (40 head) of Twentyman steers weighing 340-382kg for 424-428c/kg, while a lighter pen of seven averaging 276kg sold to AuctionsPlus at 456c/kg.
Another original sale vendor the Blyth family, MJ Blyth & Co, Manypeaks, sold 49 steers weighing from 339-371kg for 430-442c/kg with Mr Gardiner picking up two pens of 12 at $1564 and $1576.
Fellow Manypeaks operation and long time sale supporter Jeff Pyle & Co, saw its offering of 73 steers weighing from 315-367kg sell to a high of $1594 paid by PRT for 17 averaging 367kg, while at the operation's lighter end GF Long bid to a high of 460c/kg for 10 head weighing 315kg.
Kojonup operation RA & MA Wright sold 60 steers in the sale and AuctionsPlus bid to 416c/kg and $1795 for 14 weighing 431kg and 462c/kg for 11 averaging 312kg, while PRT took three pens weighing 367-388kg for 424-436c/kg ($1599-$1647).
Another sizable draft of 89 steers was offered by the Miell family, JR & WR Miell, Redmond and Narrikup.
The Miell's offering weighed between 318-384kg and sold for 424-452c/kg with PRT taking their top-priced pen at $1627 paid for 15 averaging 384kg.
The best liveweight price in the steer run was 500c/kg bid by AuctionsPlus for 22 steers averaging 218kg from VW & SE Pantall, Narrikup, while LT Toovey & Sons, Cranbrook received a bid of 472c/kg from AuctionsPlus for 20 averaging 294kg and MF & KL Zweck, Pingrup, saw a bid of 470c/kg from JH Edgley & Co, on a pen of 14 head weighing 277kg.
The heifer run may have been much smaller in size but it attracted just as much competition.
The top price in the heifer offering was $1568 achieved by DJ & BE Bell, when it sold a pen of 10 averaging 394kg at 398c/kg to Nutrien Livestock, Margaret River agent Jock Embry, who purchased them for Cosy Creek Farms, Manjimup.
Mr Embry also purchased a second line of 10 heifers averaging 375kg from the Bells at 396c/kg and $1483, while a third line of 10 heifers from the Bells averaging 384kg went to PRT at 390c/kg and $1496.
After seeing good returns for their large run of steers RA & MA Wright offered three pens of heifers (29 head). Their heaviest pen (eight head) at 367kg sold to L & C Gatti at 400c/kg and $1468, while AuctionsPlus picked up the other two pens (11 and 10 head) weighing 347kg and 319kg for 416c/kg and 410c/kg respectively.
Like the Wrights JR & WR Miell sold three pens (38 head) to DJ & GR Stirling, which picked up 13 averaging 347kg for $1400 while AuctionsPlus secured two pens containing 13 and 12 head (322 and 313kg) for 412c/kg and 440c/kg.
Albany-based operation Johnson Bros, followed on from its steer offering by selling three pens of heifers (37 head) and G & M Davy picked up two pens bidding 404c/kg for 10 weighing 341kg and 442c/kg for 15 averaging 304kg.
AuctionsPlus buyers dominated the lighter weight heifers bidding to a high of 454c/kg for 12 weighing 228kg from an undisclosed vendor while GD & SC Jones, Kojonup and LT Toovey & Sons saw bids of 450c/kg on their lightweight pens.
The Kojonup operation sold a pen of 13 weighing 283kg and the Tooveys sold 12 weighing 293kg at 450c/kg to AuctionsPlus.
What the agent said:
NUTRIEN Livestock, Mt Barker agent and sale auctioneer Harry Carroll said it was an exceptional sale in terms of both the prices received and the quality of calves offered.
"The quality of the yarding was unequalled and a credit to the vendors," Mr Carroll said.
"In the nine years of sales the quality of weaners offered has just got better and better through vendors using better genetics and benchmarking themselves against others in the sale.
"All the calves in the sale were weaned and had been treated with Bovi Shield and that has been well and truly recognised and the vendors are being paid the extra for doing what they do.
"In terms of the sale and the prices received the market was way above our wildest expectations, it was probably up 20-30 cents a kilogram on expectations.
"The heavy calves which were more than 390 kilograms made extraordinary money.
"It was the first time we have used AuctionsPlus for the sale and that was a success with strong buying support on the platform.
"We saw strong buying support not only from the Eastern States on AuctionsPlus but also a buyer in attendance who was purchasing for both feedlots and the paddock, which took a large percentage of the yarding.
"There was also good support at the yards from local WA lotfeeders and graziers but because of the strength of the market found it hard to buy.
"I have been involved in some big sales over my nearly 50 year journey in the livestock industry and none have come close to this one.
"It has certainly set a new mark for weaner sales in WA."