Stud producers may have come out on top at Wattle Grove Speckle Park's twilight sale in Toowoomba on Saturday, but commercial cattlemen weren't shy about showing their interest or running up the price.
Bringing their genetics to Queensland for a third time, the Humphries family, Oberon, NSW, were rewarded for their efforts when the results far surpassed those of last year.
Of the 31 bulls on offer, 29 sold to average $12,603 (up from $7222 in 2020), while all 25 heifers sold to average $16,360 ($9656).
Described by stud principal Dale Humphries as a "standout from an early age", it was Wattle Grove Ba Da Boom Q127 that stole the spotlight, selling for a sale high of $65,000 to Steve and Diep Atkins, Gotcha Speckle Parks, NSW.
Sired by Six Star Rare Commodity (AI) (ET) (Speckled) and out of Wattle Grove 13U Wilma H71 (AI) (ET) (P) (Black), the 17-month-old weighed 710 kilograms and measured 33 centimetres for scrotal circumference.
With an eye muscle area of 126 square centimetres, the sire prospect boasted rib and rump fat of 8mm and 10mm respectively, and an intramuscular fat of 7.1pc.
Making the trip specifically for Ba Da Boom, Mr Atkins said seeing the bull in the flesh backed up what they already knew about him.
"We went deliberately to try and secure him and a handful of heifers, and obviously getting him was a competitive process; at one stage there was six different groups bidding on him which is an indication that he was sought after," Mr Atkins said.
"We've got a herd of females together that we describe as being moderate in frame and we think that his size and shape and capacity fits nicely with that herd of females.
"The stats on him, his growth rates are very, very high for a young bull and being well above average which we liked, and we expect that he will continue to grow into being a really strong three-year-old bull."
Mr Atkins said the sire prospect would complement their AI program.
"We have a tank of semen that is really, really strong with famous bulls and all sorts of different genetics, so we'll continue to AI our animals and we think having Ba Da Boom as part of our backup system to that, works really well," he said.
The second-top price of $26,000 was achieved by the last bull to go under the hammer, Wattle Grove Stay At Home Q802.
Knocked down to Dallas Coben, Ivery Downs Cattle Co, Colinton, the 14-month-old tipped the scales at 451kg.
Sired by River Hill 60W Line Drive 54Z (AI) (Leopard) and out of Codiak Acres Attitudenous (Speckled), the youngster measured 28cm in the scrotum, 4mm at the rib and 5mm at the rump, with an IMF of 5.2pc and EMA of 84sq cm.
Demand didn't waver when it came time to sell the heifers, and remained strong throughout that section of the catalogue. The first heifer to be offered set the tone, selling for the second-top price of $31,000.
Purchased by Joshua Richards, Kilcoy Valinor Pty Ltd, Mt Kilcoy, 14-month-old Wattle Grove L275 Princess Wattle Q873 weighed 460kg, with 7mm rump fat, 5mm rib fat, an EMA of 75sq cm and IMF of 5.6pc.
Sired by Wattle Grove Smoke And Mirrors L275 (AI) (ET) (P) (Leopard), she was out of Wattle Grove 46Y Princess Wattle L229 (AI) (ET) (P) (Speckled).
It was the last heifer to be offered that garnered the top money of $36,000. Also secured by Mr Richards, 14-month-old Wattle Grove 107D Marusa Q817 was sired by Codiak Monument GNK 107D (P) (White).
From Codiak Marusa GNK 30B (P) (Speckled), the female weighed 323kg, with rump and rib fat of 7mm and 5mm respectively, an EMA of 61sq cm, and IMF of 7.7pc.
Mr Humphries said they'd had a huge amount of enquiry on the young heifer, but she had still exceeded their expectations.
"We wanted to finish strong and wanted to finish with the best," he said.
"She's a bit of a younger heifer and a different type, she's a little bit more moderate and what I would call very much a typical Speckle Park female.
"We thought she might not have had enough leg and enough frame for the Queenslanders, but she proved us wrong."
All six embryo packages sold for an average of $2650/embryo, topping at $3200/embryo for a package of three embryos from donor Moovin Zpotz Zola 23Z and AI sire Spots 'N Sprouts Drone 105D, bought by Burnett Valley Pork, Monto.
All four semen packages sold to average $514/straw, topping at $980/straw for a package of six semen straws from Stands Alone bought by Cashmore Speckle Farms, Victoria.
Overall, Mr Humphries said support from commercial buyers had been strong.
"Obviously, we all like the top prices, we want to have a good, solid sale and we want to have strong animals going out there, but we also want people to not be scared off by high prices and we still saw really good value.
"There was a big percentage of buyers that were commercial guys specifically buying females to breed bulls for their own program and that was the thing I think we haven't really seen before this.
"And that shows confidence from what we see, as commercial guys have very much accepted the breed."
Representing five states, there were 70 registered onsite bidders and 175 online bidders through Elite Livestock Auctions.
- Selling agents: Elders