Sunday, December 3, 2023

First-time sellers lift yearling bull season

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New entrants a highlight amid softer prices in a challenging market.
Skywalker 2034 from Mahuta Herefords, Glen Murray, has made the spring season’s top price of $23,500 for a yearling bull.
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Inaugural sales at four studs were a highlight of a challenging yearling bull sales season.

Average prices were softer than last year, mainly because of the difficulties facing dairy farmers, the main buying group for young bulls.

But the pool of sellers was enhanced by four new entrants across a range of breeds.

Vermont Angus of Alford Forest in Canterbury offered 27 AngusPro bulls at the end of September, with Kim and Russell Berquist selling 25 for an average of $2684. The top priced bull was sold to Leefield Station for $6000.

Eighty-eight yearling bulls were offered at Ardo Herefords, Marton, with 67 sold. Average $2986. Highest $6200 for Lot 62 Ardo Trust 2065 to Stephen Lyons-Montgomery, Belhavel Herefords, Rotorua.

Shane Tahu’s Eclipse Charolais in Himatangi, Manawatū, put forward nine yearlings, which all sold at an average of $3300. Rosemount Charolais paid a top price of $6000 at the sale.

The first of two new Hereford sellers, Bluff Herefords of Glenbrook in Auckland, sold all 59 yearlings for an average price of $2500, the best of which made $3700 for owners Phillip Jackson and Kirstine Lereculey.

Hoobee Herefords of Whenuakite sold 11 bulls at its sale, at an average of $3801. The best was sold for $5500.

The wet spring didn’t appear to have a major effect on condition, but the economic climate saw purchasers and breeders take a more conservative approach this season.

Tighter budgets meant some purchasers looked to spread their investment in bull numbers over a longer period.

The expectation of a bull being able to perform across more than one season has continued to factor into purchasing decisions, with some asking what this may mean for the two-year-old bull sales ahead.

EBVs for calving ease and growth were key to purchasing decisions for those in dairying.

Regulation requirements, along with some dairy farmers seeking additional revenue streams, mean that producing a saleable calf that is able to get off the ground and achieve weaning weight quickly has become an integral part of their business focus.

Te Atarangi Angus principal Chris Biddles welcomes bull buyers to his sale on the Pouto peninsula, Northland.

A record $41,000 was paid for an Angus yearling bull, Twin Oaks T019, at the Twin Oaks Calving Ease Angus sale for Roger and Susan Hayward, at Waipapa station, Te Akau, Waikato.

The buyer, on bidr, was Craig Davie-Martin, a Northland breeder of calving ease Angus genetics under the trading name MVP Ag, Waiotira.

Davie-Martin said the yearling bull by Australian-bred Millah Murrah Paratrooper has excellent calving ease direct (CED), gestation length, birthweight and growth figures, plus very good body depth and thickness right through.

MVP already has a Paratrooper half-brother bought last year that has been performing very well. 

Mahuta Polled Hereford at Glen Murray in northern Waikato sold Mahuta Skywalker 2034 to Koanui Herefords, Havelock North, for $23,500. Mahuta had 69 bulls in the offering and sold 66 with an average of $3700.

Notable early season sales included Multiple Steak of Origin award-winning Northland Angus stud Te Atarangi, which had an average price of $3457 for 112 sold out of 117 offered.

This was down $300 on last year but vendor Chris Biddles said that was totally understandable given current farming conditions and confidence.

“Only a handful of bulls sold under what it costs to produce them, given the investment we make to produce a safe calving-ease product,” Biddles said.

Mark McKenzie of Maungahina Stud and Posy Moody, General Manager NZ Herefords. The stud sold 22 yearling Hereford bulls at an average of $2600, while 22 yearling Speckle Park bulls sold for an average $3100.

Top price was $9200 paid for lot 12, Te Atarangi Wheta T020 by Robin, Jacqueline and Zarrah Blackwell at Mangaotea Stud, Inglewood.

Argyle Angus, Kaikohe, had a full clearance of 31 yearling bulls, averaged $3400, and had a top price of $6700.

Piquet Hill Farms Angus, northern Waikato, sold 28 of 33 and averaged $2596 with a top of $4500.

To begin the Hereford sales, Waimaire and Otengi studs in the Shepherd family, Kaeo, Northland, sold 41 of 61, averaged $2700 and had a top price of $5200 for lot 35, Otengi Echuca 415, paid by the Beard family, Kaitaia.

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