MUNDA Reds made an emphatic statement for the stud and the Droughtmaster breed in WA with an inspiring result at its inaugural on-property bull sale at Glencoe, Gingin, last week.
The Munda Reds sale culminated three successful days of northern Bos Indicus bull sales (all run by Nutrien Livestock) in sparkling fashion, backed by a string of new and existing Munda Reds supporters stretching throughout WA's northern pastoral regions, central Midlands, South West through to Esperance, Northern Territory and strong Queensland interest.
The sale was also interfaced on AuctionsPlus with 1553 catalogue views resulting in 40 registered buyers logged into the sale locally and from Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, who placed 115 online bids across 30 lots.
The Munda Reds journey to source leading Australian Droughtmaster genetics needs no introduction and was on display with an outstanding sale team of 129 Droughtmaster bulls from both the Munda Reds stud herd at Gingin and commercial Droughtmaster herd at Mundabullangana (Munda) station, Port Hedland.
The Thompson family's significant investment into their breeding program paid dividends with buyers demonstrating their appreciation through buoyant bidding for the Munda Reds product and the family's efforts to showcase the Droughtmaster breed in WA.
The most poignant moment of the day was the generosity shown by the Thompson family and buyers alike when the first of the commercial bulls offered was knocked down for $26,000, with all proceeds donated to Telethon.
After an entertaining three-hour selling marathon, the Nutrien Livestock team led by auctioneer Dane Pearce, Nutrien Ag Solutions stud stock manager, Rockhampton, Queensland, chalked up an epic result, rewriting the record books along the way.
After Mr Pearce had knocked his gavel down for the 129th and final time, the big crowd in attendance applauded the 100 per cent clearance, outstanding overall average of $11,047, $60,000 top price and a sale gross of more than $1.4 million, making it the second highest grossing bull sale this selling season in WA.
This set new WA records for a Bos Indicus bull sold at auction and average for Bos Indicus bull sales.
The 78 Munda Reds stud bulls sold averaged $12,981, which ranks as the third highest sale average for a stud bull sale this selling season in WA, while the offering of 51 commercial Munda station bulls sold to a high of $26,000 and averaged $8088.
However despite 47 bulls selling for five figures, there were numerous sales ranging from $4000 to $9000, allowing buyers of all budgets to operate.
Mr Pearce said it was a very even line of quality bulls and the evenness and the quality of the team was reflected in the results.
"The quality of the line-up would be comparable to most studs in Queensland," Mr Pearce said.
"They had very even scan data and high semen (fertility) figures.
"There were a lot of PP bulls in the team and they were certainly sought after by buyers.
"There was strong buying support through the entire catalogue and this helped us achieve a 100 per cent clearance and an average of more than $11,000.
"To average more than $11,000 for more than 120 bulls is a tremendous result for a WA-based sale.
"The sale certainly broke new ground for WA and the final result is a credit to the Munda team and well deserved."
Munda Reds stud principal Mike Thompson was clearly overwhelmed with the result in his closing address where he paid tribute to his staff, family, supporters and the Droughtmaster breed.
"What a great result for the breed," Mr Thompson said.
"After the past two days of Droughtmaster sales, I think the breed has made a statement in WA.
"A lot of the heavy lifting in the cattle game is in the north and a lot of it is done by the Droughtmaster breed.
"We don't all get rain up there and Munda is in that position which is sad because I feel so much for our cows.
"But the breed really stands up, they keep themselves and their calves alive which is why I respect them so much.
"It was more about the breed for me today and I'm glad people supported the sale for this reason, because they believe in Droughtmasters.
"It's sad to see people miss out on the bulls they want but I hope we threw something into the ring for you all to have a bite at for different prices.
"I never dreamed we would have had a result like today, its beyond belief.
"Thank you to all buyers and underbidders, I really do appreciate it."
Most onlookers thought they had witnessed the sale's heights when lot seven sold for a new WA record Bos Indicus bull price of $51,000.
It was short-lived however, with lot 47 Munda Fortdale 3965 igniting a bidding firestorm between several hopeful new owners before finally being knocked down to first-time buyer Paul Laycock and family, High Country Droughtmaster stud, Toogoolawah, Queensland.
Mr Laycock said it was the overall genetic strength in Fortdale 3965 that appealed to him the most.
"He is a bull we feel will throw really good commercial bulls for us for the Queensland market due to the great depth in his pedigree," Mr Laycock said.
"He also has all the strong characteristics we look for, including a good temperament, good feet, a good sheath, capacity and volume.
"He oozes sire capacity and was certainly a standout in our eyes.
"The last bull I bought that had this quality, I paid a record $160,000 for in Queensland."
The 818 kilogram Fortdale was a double polled late April 2020 born son of Garthowen Velocity and Comanche 144647 and recorded 1.15kg daily weight gain (DWG), 41cm scrotal (SC), 94pc morphology and scanned 11mm rib and P8 fats, 125cm2 eye muscle area (EMA) and 5.9pc intramuscular fat (IMF).
Fortdale was one of five bulls purchased by High Country which outlaid $155,500 at an average of $31,100.
Mr Laycock said it was the first time they had purchased from Munda and he was really happy with the bulls they had.
"We came over a couple of years ago and looked over their whole operation and were impressed," he said.
"We got an understanding of their breeding program and how they manage the bulls and decided after seeing the catalogue this year we would come over to the sale.
"The day before the sale we spent two and a half hours going through the bulls and picking out what we wanted."
Also in the team headed to High Country was the sale's $42,500 third top price bull Munda Franco 4254, a double polled son of SC Fish & Chips and a $36,000 bull, Munda Felon, a double polled son by their own sire High Country First Rate D5.
Mr Laycock said Franco and Felon were also top bulls that oozed sire capacity.
"Felon is by one of our bulls which Mike purchased a few years ago and we have purchased him to go over heifers as we know the success his father has had with heifers.
"His sire has bred calves out of heifers that have stood up well against other sires."
Along with running 250 stud breeders and 250 co-op stud breeders, Mr Laycock and his family run 500 commercial Droughtmaster breeders on their 4046 hectare property.
Their aim is to sell between 100 to 150 bulls a year which includes 60 in their on-property sale.
Mr Laycock said he was very pleased to play his part in the day.
"Munda achieved a great result today for the breed and it all came about due to a great breeder who has put on the day, it was a credit to the Munda team," Mr Laycock said.
"It was a magic line-up of bulls and the presentation and professionalism of the Munda stud was exceptional and I am proud to be part of it.
"The bulls Munda offered would stand up against any of the top bulls in Queensland and what we bought will certainly join in well with the top price bulls we have bought at home in the past few years."
Munda Finisher 3952 was highly touted by Munda Reds and didn't disappoint when knocked down for the $51,000 second top price, to partnership of Queensland buyers on AuctionsPlus - the Atkinson family, Glenavon Droughtmaster stud, Yaamba and the Geddes family, Telemon stud, Springsure.
The 860kg bull was a mid-April 2020 born double polled son of Garthowen Velocity 2 and a Glenlands Premier daughter Comanche 144389.
Finisher recorded 1.19kg DWG, 88pc morphology, 85pc semen and scanned 10mm rib and P8 fats, 126cm2 EMA and 5.2pc IMF.
Buyer John Atkinson said he purchased Finisher's sire in partnership with the Munda stud for $30,000 in 2015 and it had been very successful for him.
"We have sold bulls by his sire for up to $65,000 so I know how his bloodline performs in our operation," Mr Atkinson said.
"When I saw Finisher in the catalogue he reminded me very much of his sire, so I knew we had to try and buy him.
"He has excellent length and muscle pattern and when we saw him walk in the pre-sale video I was really impressed.
"He also has a good sirey outlook and is PP which is important.
"We think he is the complete sire package.
"We purchased a bull from Munda at the Fitzroy Crossing sale in 2019 for $13,000 and it has done a good job for us, so hopefully Finisher will be the same."
The sale's most influential buyer by a country mile was Warrawagine Cattle Company, Port Hedland.
Despite requiring significant numbers, owner Rob Jowett and manager Lux Lethbridge supported by Skye Ogerly, Northern Rural Supplies (NRS), Broome, weren't afraid to bid up on their selections.
Warrawagine finished with 35 bulls (18 stud and 17 commercial) totalling more than half a million dollars at an average of $15,129.
They paid more than $30,000 on three occasions with their top $37,000 bid reserved for their fifth purchase in lot 10, Munda Frontline 4148, a 876kg early April 2020 born double polled son of first season sire SC Glencoe D4 and a Wirrigai TBC daughter Comanche 4401 that measured 1.21kg DWG, 13mm rib and P8 fats, 126cm2 EMA and 6.1pc IMF.
But their most memorable purchase would have been when they bid $26,000 for the 780kg double polled commercial charity bull by Aldinga Figjam, with all proceeds going to Telethon.
Warrawagine Cattle Company runs more than 20,000 Droughtmaster and Droughtmaster cross breeders at Warrawagine and Wallal stations in the southern Kimberley and have been buying bulls from Munda Reds for the past five years.
Mr Lethbridge said the poll gene and fertility were key criteria in their selections using Munda Reds genetics.
"I believe the poll gene is something we need to focus on as an industry," Mr Lethridge said.
"It's going to be the next move in terms of animal welfare and you could see with the values of these bulls that everyone is thinking the same.
"And ease of handling, it's one less job not having to dehorn with staff shortages, training staff and retaining them.
"Fertility is what drives the engine room of our business and the number one reason you buy a bull as he has the potential to sire 400 calves in his lifetime, so it's a pretty good return on investment.
"Our heifer selection program is focused strongly on fertility, you have to have hooves on the ground, that's what pays the bills.
"It's like an apple tree producing two apples, you aren't going to keep it."
Mr Lethridge said Wallal station was set up for backgrounding its own sale cattle under centre pivots and 75pc of its marketing was done in the first three months of the year.
"We are not fixated on a single line of marketing, we have a really good team at NRS in Broome who gives us a diverse range of markets to access," he said.
"We try to give everyone an opportunity to buy our cattle.
"Keep the cattle clean coated enough and you can go both ways with your marketing."
The next biggest volume buyer was return buyer Brent Smoothy, BR Smoothy & RM Burn, Newman, who built a team of 21 bulls (18 stud and three commercial) with values from $5000 to $19,000 at an average of $7857.
Mr Smoothy said the bulls he purchased would go to Hillside station, Marble Bar and the higher priced ones would go into their nucleus herd of 300 Droughtmaster cows to breed bulls for their own use.
"We need around 120 bulls a year to use not only at Hillside but also at Panorama station and our Queensland operation at Dingo on the beef route," Mr Smoothy said.
"Across the three properties we are running 12,000 breeders which are predominantly Droughtmaster and our aim is to get to a purebred Droughtmaster herd in the coming years.
"I like the Droughtmaster breed because it is a versatile breed," Mr Smoothy said.
"You can breed cattle for the export market or you can also grow them out to 650 to 700kg and sell them into the slaughter market.
"In Queensland we put the calves through our own feedlot and this year we have steers put on up to 3kg/day which is the best we have ever done.
"They are also hardy, have good clean coats and a good temperament.
"They fit the bill for both our high rainfall country in Queensland and the drier conditions of our stations in WA."
Other buyers to pay $20,000 or more for bulls included the Hamersley family, Wandagee and Boolathana stations, who bid to $21,000 for an SC Glencoe D4 (P) son, Munda Fordson 4151 (PP) after missing out on a number of the top bulls, while Medway Grazing Pty Ltd, Medway station, Willows, Gemfield, Queensland, bought a son of Hamadra Gatsby D5 (P), Munda Firebrand 3711 (PH) at $20,000.
Not only did bulls head to Queensland out of the sale, with four also going to the Northern Territory when JS & GL Laurisson, Katherine, secured four to a top of $14,000 and an average of $9000.
There were too many other buyers who influenced the sale significantly to mention them all in this report, but some other buyers who put together decent numbers of bulls at the sale included Hamersley and Rocklea station manager Mark Lanyon, Tom Price, with eight bulls (two stud and six commercial) which cost to $13,000 and averaged $7813 and Nutrien Livestock, Esperance agent Barry Hutcheson representing Minara Pastoral, Leonora, who collected seven bulls (four stud and three commercial) at good value for money to average $5643.
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