Sale summary: 98 bulls offered, top price $15,500, average price $5341, 100pc clearance.
A full clearance of the catalogue, a new top price and an average just off their best recorded in 2018 were some of the great results for all involved with the Valera Vale Droughtmaster stud at its on-property Augathella sale on Friday.
Stud principal Michael Flynn put the best result in the worst season down to all the repeat buyers that support them, but it was a new client, DJ and JM James, Hidden Valley Station at Katherine in the Northern Territory that won the bidding war for Valera Vale 18544M (P).
Operating online through Elite Livestock Auctions, they paid $15,500 for the 22-month-old Valera Vale Factor son with an average daily weight gain of 1.1kg and a sale weight of 765kg.
The lighter coloured double polled bull had a scrotal circumference of 41cm and 80 per cent semen morphology.
Mr Flynn said while they bought that bull plus five others, averaging $7833, sight unseen, they had previously travelled down to the Augathella property to inspect the quality of the herd.
"I'm guessing they paid that sort of money for the bull to go into their bull breeding unit," he said. "It's broken our previous record of $14,000 to High Country Droughtmasters, so $15,500 is pretty sweet in these conditions."
Related: Full clearance of Valera Vale bulls
Mr Flynn said all Valera Vale Factor's sons were sold in the $7000 to $10,000 bracket, indicating his value in the market, adding that he hoped to buy some calves by him at the Laycock family's High Country sale.
It was another Factor son, Valera Vale 18562M (P) that made the second top price of $14,000, paid by the Kay Tent Lee Trust, Beaudesert.
Also a lighter colour, the 22-month homozygous poll bull, weighing 746kg, had P8 and rib measurements of 14 and 12mm and 81pc morphology.
Bromelton State Development Area farm manager Todd Smith said they started with Droughtmasters around 12 years ago and had been buying from Valera Vale for four years.
Earlier in the week they were just 20 minutes from some of south east Queensland's worst bushfire action and said while they may be located in traditional Bos taurus country, they were definitely looking for rangeland bulls.
"I'm a fan of high content bulls and their bigger frame," Mr Smith said. "They stand out; they're very sought after where we are."
The farm recently sold 300kg heifers to Bindaree Beef as feeders.
Elite Livestock Auctions operated for the first time at the sale and had 55 watchers, predominantly from northern Australia, 15 registered bidders and one-third of the lots were sold online.
One of the four online purchasers, Frank Atherton, Hughenden, paid the third top price of $12,000 for Valera Vale 18579M, also a pale coated homozygous poll bull, with overall daily weight gain statistics of 1.06kg.
His sire, Valera Vale 14273M, was described in the catalogue as "a bull of demonstrated survivability, having overcome a very bad dingo attack as a calf but still performing well enough to earn a place in the stud herd".
In his introductory remarks, Mr Flynn told the crowd that some of the sale bulls had dog bites and that the property had trapped and shot just under 1000 wild dogs in three years.
"It shows just how tough they are," he said.
It's a point he was keen to make, describing the sale as "the grassfed meeting of bull sales".
"We've got three repeat buyers from WA, and buyers from Queensland, and they're telling us the bulls are doing the job," he said.
"Some herds are genomic testing cattle and finding the Valera Vale Droughtmasters are the bulls really pushing their performance and that's great feedback we're getting.
"We live out here in the desert, we don't make any excuse for failures so that means our cattle have got to be efficient."
This year's average price of $5341 was less than the 2018 average of $5689 but Mr Flynn noted that last year's average was obtained on a smaller offering of 74 bulls.
"We had 98 bulls this year - it was a big risk but I'd sooner have 70pc clearance and have everyone take home a bull than have 100pc clearance and have people go away without a bull.
"That's not good business and not what we want to do. We're here to supply bulls to the industry, not to break records on price."
Volume buyers at Friday's sale included WNM MacDonald, Fossil Downs, Fitzroy Crossing with 10 bulls for a $6050 average; SP Castles and LD Paynter, Gundoo, Charleville also buying 10 bulls, for a $5350 average; Reynella Grazing Co, Charleville with nine bull for a $4944 average; Rachlan Holdings, Newman, WA selecting eight bulls for an average of $3000; and Mandora Cattle Co, Sandfire, WA, buying six bulls for a $4166 average.
Thirty-one bid cards were given out on the ground on the day.
- Agents - Landmark, Elders, Elite Livestock Auctions