WA Guernsey heifer makes record price

By Leah Tindale
January 10 2022 - 10:00pm
The prized heifer, Gilbert Milos Haiti, went for the top price of $16,500.

GUERNSEYS made unlikely history in a recent private auction put on by Colin Gilbert, of Gilbert Guernseys.

In November, Mr Gilbert trucked 25 heifers and a young bull from North Dandalup to Rochester, in northern Victoria, for a sale that broke the world record.

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A new national breed record was set with a 13-month-old unmated heifer going for the top price of $16,500.

The sale average broke the world record at $9,260 for the Guernsey breed.

Overall the 26 Guernseys grossed $236,500.

As a minority breed, Mr Gilbert wanted to give his own sale a go.

"Guernsey breeders don't do this, they usually sell privately," Mr Gilbert said.

"Every second year at international dairy week, they have a Guernsey sale, it was due this January but it was cancelled.

"So we had too many heifers and not enough money, so I thought well let's give it a go, we've got nothing to lose except all of our money, our cattle and our self esteem, but it paid off really well, it was beyond our wildest dreams."

With 170 registered bidders on sale day, Mr Gilbert promoted the event via Facebook and one advertisement in the Australian Dairy Farmer magazine.

"My wife got onto Facebook and we opened up a Gilbert Guernsey page, every day we featured a cow that had a daughter or granddaughter in the sale," Mr Gilbert said.

"We only sold heifers, we didn't sell anything milking, for logistic reasons.

"As cows came in the dairy and looked pretty good we took photos of them while they were in the bale, before we milked them and then put it on Facebook, saying she has a daughter by this bull or that bull and the interest was just incredible."

The top price went to an unjoined heifer Gilbert Milos Haiti, daughter of Gilbert Haiti, which has a linear trait of VG 88 with records to 366 kilograms of protein and 545kg of fat.

It was purchased by MB Daley Pty Ltd, Millaa View Farms, Millaa Millaa, north Queensland, arriving at her new home just in time for Christmas.

The second highest price was for a 16-month-old heifer, which sold for $13,000.

The heifer, Gilbert Milos Pricilla, came from a fifth generation EX and VG legend dam who had 347kg fat and was purchased by M & P Gray of Rollands Plains, New South Wales.

Nutritionist Darby Norris, a good mate of Mr Gilbert, is based in Victoria and handled the sale preparations.

Auctioneer Brian Leslie, Dairy Livestock Services, also researched the pedigrees and compiled the catalogue.

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Mr Gilbert couldn't make the sale in person due to COVID border restrictions.

The cattle were shipped over three weeks before the event, first making a stop in New South Wales.

Fed up on hay, a week out from sale day they were then trucked down to the Rochester showgrounds.

"I've taken cattle over three times before to either show them or sell them but only three or four at a time, I've never taken a centre semi-loader over," Mr Gilbert said.

"We had a rough idea of what to do and it was probably easier because they were heifers and there were no milking cows."

With a professional cattle fitter on board for the sale, the end results "paid off really well".

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"The interest and the support was sensational, it was beyond our wildest dreams," Mr Gilbert said.

Previously owning Holsteins years ago, Mr Gilbert swapped to Guernseys as he instinctively liked them.

Mr Gilbert along with his wife Elda Gilbert, have been dairy farmers "forever", with a milking herd of 50 year-round and all up about 100 including young stock.

He farms on 70 hectares at North Dandalup.

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