Records obliterated at Woonallee

Pictured with the $160,000 record breaking Woonallee Los Angeles are Elders auctioneer Ben Finch, purchaser Brett Nobbs, Nobbs Cattle Co, Duaringa, Qld and Woonallee principals Lizzy and Tom Baker, Furner, SA.

By Ian Turner, Superior Selections
The Baker family’s 10th Annual Elite Production Sale at Furner, South Australia will go down in the annals as one to remember for a long time, and for all the right reasons. Record prices weren’t just broken; they were obliterated when the lead sale bull, Woonallee Los Angeles L124 (P) (ET) (AI) sold for a mind blowing $160,000 last Thursday (9th Feb).

Sired by the top New Zealand bull Glen Anthony Y-Arta AY02 (P) and out of the magnificent Woonallee Kathie B111 of South African bloodlines via Buzzard Hollow Ranch (USA), this 18 month old and 1030kg bull attracted a huge amount of pre-sale interest and favourable comment. This gave every indication that something exciting might happen, but no-one expected this level of bidding.

Woonallee Bull Sale_2_Lot 22_$32500_D

Woonallee Luxenbourg (P) sold for a new Australian Black Simmental record price of $32,500, being purchased by Peter Howarth, Wombramurra Black Simmentals, Nundle, NSW.

The dedicated and highly committed buyer was Brett Nobbs, Nobbs Cattle Co., Duaringa via Rockhampton, Qld who threw in his first bid as it approached $120,000. The bull opened with a $40,000 bid that was quickly countered with a $50,000 on-line bid, taking it past the previous $46,000 breed record, also set by Woonallee when the Baker family sold Woonallee Goldrush G61 (P) to Scott & Wayne York, Billa Park, Dulacca, Qld in 2013.

It rapidly climbed through to new stratospheric levels and at the knockdown it had also passed all previous Bos Taurus prices in this country.

The underbidders were Doug & Jan Bradshaw & family, Blue Dog Simmentals, Wandoan, Qld who bid via the Elite Auctions network. They have previously purchased & had great success with Woonallee genetics, including W. Justified in 2015 for $45,000.

Almost lost in the euphoric aftermath of this top sale was the $32,500 received for the Black Simmental bull, Woonallee Luxembourg (P), breaking the previous $27,500 Australian Black Simmental record set at this sale last year. The purchaser was Peter Howarth, Wombramurra Simmentals, Nundle, NSW.

While these record breaking sales justifiably captured the headlines, they overshadowed what stud principal, Tom Baker described as, “Just the ideal and best ever sale result.”

There was a total clearance of 102 traditional, red and black Simmental and SimAngus bulls for an outstanding average of $9759, with bidders from every state of Australia and New Zealand competing.


Lizzy Baker with Woonallee Los Angeles

“The stud breeders got to have a go at what they wanted, while those who wanted commercial bulls at value were well catered for. In fact, while the records are mind blowing, the most pleasing aspect was all our regular commercial clients were able to buy bulls at good value,” Tom Baker said.

Even with the far more buoyant commercial industry at present, 32% sold for $5000 or less and 48% sold for $6000 or less, representing extremely good value, especially for the quality on offer right through the catalogue.

With 103 registrations at the sale, plus a further 26 registered on-line through Elite Livestock Auctions, there were always going to be some who missed out on select bulls, but to support Tom Baker’s summary, 23 successful commercial bidders from the immediate South East region of the state purchased 40% (41 bulls) of the offering.

While Western Australian and New Zealand bidders missed out on their bull selections, at the sale’s conclusion 29 South Australian buyers had purchased 49 bulls, 12 NSW buyers had purchased 29 bulls, eight Victorian buyers had purchased 13 bulls, five Tasmanian buyers had purchased six bulls and five Queensland buyers had purchased five bulls. The five Queensland buyers might have been last on that list, but they were very prominent at the pointy end of the sale; their five bulls collectively averaging $46,500 which was above the previous breed record price.

Of course the stars amongst that result were Woonallee Los Angeles and his purchaser, Brett Nobbs. It is very early in the development of Nobbs Cattle Co’s pure Simmental breeding program, with 100 traditional coloured females and two herd sires of which Los Angeles is now one. The herd is based on successful South African bloodlines that Brett has brought in, with the aim of being able to market a top line of Simmental bulls in 2019.

Brett first purchased from Woonallee at their 2015 Elite Ladies Female Sale, purchasing the special “pick of the entire 2014 drop heifers” for $16,000. Ultimately his selection went on to be the Junior Champion female at Melbourne and reserve at Adelaide Royals and happened to be the full sister to this record bull. He also purchased the same “pick of the 2016 drop heifers” at the female sale the night before this sale, for $17,000. It was while he was down selecting that initial heifer that he first saw Los Angeles on his recipient dam.

He may be relatively new to Simmental breeding, but is one of the most widely respected and successful Brahman breeders in the country and in explaining his record bull purchase said, “I see a lot of beef bulls, and this bull is extraordinary; a once in a lifetime bull.”

“With that weight for age, his softness, skin, fat cover, performance levels and pedigree, he’s got it all, and also with such an amazing temperament.”

“I’ve only ever seen one other bull like that before, which was a Brahman imported from the USA. I’m confident this bull will be a game and breed changer,” Brett said.

Woonallee principal Tom Baker said, “The bull is an outstanding individual, both phenotypically and genetically.” Woonallee is retaining 200 straws of semen for in-herd use only.

The bull will be collected for export semen sales and while yet undecided, Brett said there is a possibility that limited packages may be offered within Australia.

“We wanted to start with the best and the quality of inputs is so important in the quality you produce. This sale result is good for the breed and we believe he can have a big impact with the right opportunities,” Brett concluded.

While this record sale was way out in front of anything else, there were many other top sales that would have commanded headlines themselves on any other day. There were 26 bulls that sold for $10,000 or better.

Sometimes there is a real lull after a record sale, but not this time, with the lot 2 bull, W. Lampoon, an impressive Starwest Total Value son going for $37,000 to Rob, Elisabeth, Rebecca and William Skene, Meldon Park Simmentals, Dalby, Qld. They bid on-line through Elite Livestock Auctions and outlasted Tom, Adeline and Jim Sanson, Gold Creek Simmentals, Tekaraka, New Zealand who were present at the sale.

Rounding out the successful Queensland buying were Olinda Grazing through Landmark Rockhampton (1 at $13,500); Russell Kenny through Landmark Munduburra (1 at $13,000); and AJ Horvath & RA Ware, Mungallala (1 at $9000).

Peter Howarth, Wombramurra Black Simmentals, Nundle, NSW brought some of the headlines below the Queensland border with the new Australian Black Simmental record purchase at $32,500 for W. Luxembourg (P). One lot earlier he bid to $27,000 before securing Woonallee Lorenzo (P) (ET) (AI). These two bulls were sired by W. Humdinger and Wheatland Ultimate Choice respectively, with John Hopkins, Wormbete Simmentals, Illabo, NSW being the unlucky underbidder on both lots.

Wombramurra is one of the largest Black Simmental herds in Australia, run in partnership by Peter with Andrew Chapman who manages the herd, both inspecting all the bulls at the beginning of January.

“We are always looking for new genetics, but the quality must be there. We have reached a stage in our herd development that we were looking for top bulls that were homozygous polled and homozygous black and it so happened that Tom and Lizzy Baker had two bulls that fitted the bill in the same year,” Peter Howarth said.

“Tom and Lizzy have done a lot of work in sourcing top genetics that work well in Australia, so really these two bulls were cheap as they are the right ones for our needs and the Baker family and their staff have done all the hard work in producing them.

“What makes them ideal for us is they have excellent structure, very good angle and strength in their hocks, ideal tail setting, smooth hair type and are in the top quartile on Breedplan for most traits,” Peter concluded.

He also purchased a SimAngus for $6500, and the night before, the top priced Black Simmental female for $12,000.

Stephen Gill, Alexander Downs, Merriwa runs a big Angus cross feedlot producing branded wholesale meats and paid the $26,000 top price at last August’s Wombramurra bull sale. He followed that up at this sale with the purchase of Woonallee Lamborghini L276 (P), another black Humdinger son, for $18,000.

Other prominent NSW buyers included Stuart Moeck, Valley Creek Simmentals through Landmark Mossvale, purchasing W. Landlord (P) (ET) (AI) for $16,000; Peter Cook, Barana Pastoral, Gunnedah, purchasing W. Looking Glass (P) for $15,000; and John and Jennifer Turner, Mahonga Park, Rand, who paid $11,000 and $6000 for two top bulls.

Long term Woonallee supporters, The Marriot family, Murroka Pty Ltd, through Elders Bairnsdale headed the Victorian buying support. They bought four bulls at an $8750 average, kicking off their purchases with the aptly named W. Launching Pad (P), sired by the great Tornado for $16,000. Troy Randell, through Corcoran and Parker, Wangaratta was successful in bidding $15,000 for W. Loyal, later adding a $9000 bull to his buying list. Rosebank Pastoral, Casterton paid $12,000 for W. Labyrinth (P) to round out the Victorian higher priced purchases.

The Tasmanian bull buying honours were headed by M & M Partridge, Summerhill Simmentals through Roberts Launceston, getting in early and picking up W. Lamborn (P) (ET) (AI) for just $10,000 while Nathan & Leah Skirving, Rosehill stud, East Sassafras were not far behind with a successful $9000 bid on a top Black Simmental bull after purchasing two black heifers the night before.

Locally, Lewis Bruggemann, Glental Simmentals, Mallala successfully bid $16,000 for W. Lightning (P) (AI), a young smooth coated standout son of CCR Cowboy Cut 50482, also being homozygous for both colour and polled.

Locals Chris and Maris Bateman, Furner, fresh from morning success with their commercial heifers in the Woonallee Future Breeders and Feeder commercial weaner female sale as guest vendors that saw them achieve up to $1830/head, reinvested in more top Woonallee genetics, purchasing two traditional bulls, both at $14,000.

James and Georgie McKay, Egremont, Lucindale paid $13,000 for a top red bull and $10,000 each for two Black Simmentals, while Artimore & Partners, Meningie and buying through Spence Dix & Co paid $13,000 for a top traditional bull and $10,000 for a Black Simmental. Rounding out the higher priced bulls going to SA buyers were Ashley Ness, AW & KJ Partners, KI (2 bulls at $12,000 & $7000); RH Hodge & Partners through Elders Keith (1 at $12,000); LN & JR Skeer through PPH&S Millicent (2 at $10,000 & $8000); & Kanangra Props through Landmark Millicent (1 at $10,000).

The sale’s biggest volume buyers, with seven bulls to $7500 and at a great value $5571 average, were McCarthy Cattle Co, buying through Elders Lucindale’s Ronnie Dix.

The Pritchard family, Moorabie Station and buying through Elders Broken Hill picked up five at a $4400 average. Buying through the same account, AS Lacey & Co purchased four at a $4625 average. These three volume buyers highlighted the value to be had once you got past the top end competition.

Three other buyers purchased three bulls each while six others not mentioned already purchased two bulls each. 59 of the registered bidders secured at least one bull under the splendid auctioneering of Ben Finch and Ross Milne, representing sale agents Elders.

There are not many Simmental sales in Australia that can clear 102 bulls in one day, let alone with this type of result, so all credit is due to the Baker family and their staff, led by stud manager Deon Chester.

“It was an awesome result, great for the breed and the SA beef industry. We run a tight family operation here and everyone chips in, so we all share in this success,” Tom Baker said.

Sale Summary                   2017                       2016

Offered                                 102                         93

Sold                                       102                         93

Top                               $160,000              $27,500

Average                              $9759                    $7409

Agents: Elders Naracoorte

Auctioneers: Ben Finch and Ross Milne


Elite Ladies Simmental Female Sale Report

1.Pictured with the $19,000 top priced female at the Woonallee Elite Ladies Female Sale are Woonallee’s Lizzy Baker, purchaser Paul Tuckey, Mubarn Simmentals, Pinjarra, WA and Elders auctioneer Ben Finch.

Pictured with the $19,000 top priced female at the Woonallee Elite Ladies Female Sale are Woonallee’s Lizzy Baker, purchaser Paul Tuckey, Mubarn Simmentals, Pinjarra, WA and Elders auctioneer Ben Finch.

While the weather was extremely hot, even at Furner in the lower south east last Wednesday (8th Feb), it was not the only thing that was hot.

In a perfect start for the Baker family’s three Woonallee cattle sales over two days, they offered 36 females and three genetic packages in their third Elite Ladies Simmental Female Sale, achieving a total clearance to a top of $19,000 and a terrific $7208 average for the heifers, plus a $2833 average for the genetic packages.

There were 54 registered bidders at the sale, plus a further 29 on-line through Elite Livestock Auctions, with all states and New Zealand represented. Ultimately 23 of these bidders were successful in purchasing from one to five lots.

The $19,000 top price was just $1000 shy of the Woonallee female record set at their 2015 female sale, thus setting the scene for the strength in bidding throughout the sale. Eight lots sold for $10,000 or better, but there were still value buys with 16 females selling from $4000 to $5000.

The top priced heifer was the 18 month old traditional coloured Woonallee Vasti L130 (P) (ET) (AI), sired by Starwest Total Value and out of Vasti B117, the dam of Woonallee Goldrush G61, the breed’s $46,000 record priced bull at the time, before that was shattered the next day.

PTIC to Glen Anthony Y-Arta, the New Zealand dual Auckland Royal Show Meat and Wool Cup winning champion, she attracted strong bidding before Paul and Natalie Tuckey, Mubarn Simmental stud, Pinjarra, WA placed the winning $19,000 bid. As with the 2015 Woonallee female sale when the Tuckeys purchased five heifers at a $7100 average, they came, “Just looking for good ones!”

They backed up the top purchase with the 22 month old Tornado daughter, Woonallee Ella L58 at $10,000, also PTIC to Glen Anthony Y-Arta.

Underbidder on the top heifer was Pat Curran, Cawleyvale Simmentals, Keerrong, NSW who successfully bid on W. Regal three lots later for $10,500. This Waterfront Jethro J71 sired 18 month old red heifer was also PTIC to the champion NZ sire.

At the November 2015 Elite Ladies sale, Brett Nobbs, Nobbs Cattle Co, Duaringa, Qld paid $16,000 for the “pick of the total 2015 drop heifers” and chose a fantastic heifer that went on to be a dual junior broad ribbon winner at Melbourne and Adelaide Royal Shows. He was back again this year and snapped up the same special lot from the 2016 drop heifers, kicking the sale off on a top note, this time for $17,000.

Kevin & Janice Hard, Naracoopa Simmentals, Denmark, WA purchased the Australian record priced black Simmental bull at last year’s Woonallee bull sale for $27,500. They were back this year to pick up two top black heifers for $10,000 and $8000.

However the top priced black heifer was Woonallee Hayley L153 (P) and AI’d to LFE The Riddler, going for $12,000 to Peter Howarth, Wombramurra Black Simmentals, Nundle, NSW.

Brodhi Carracher, Grangeburn stud, Wannon, Vic and in conjunction with Mason Galpin Warra-M Livestock, Penola bid to $15,000 to purchase W. Daisy L121 (P), an impressive Willandra Gomez daughter, also AI’d to Glen Anthony Y-Arta.

Rounding out the top end prices was Elaine Sleep who paid $12,000 for Woonallee Jeannie L279 (P), sired by Waterfront Jethro and PTIC to Glen Anthony Y-Arta. Originally from Colac in Victoria, Elaine is now based at Coonawarra in SA. Underbidders were Nathan and Leah Skirving, Rosehill stud, East Sassafras, Tasmania; one of three buyers from that state, successful in purchasing two black heifers at $5000 each. DG & DJ Martin, through Elders Devonport also purchased two heifers, both red, at $6000 and $5000.

22 of the registered bidders purchased heifers with two sharing the volume buying honours. Jarrad Bonanno, Norman Park stud, Windsor, NSW paid to $6000 and averaged $5125 for four heifers, while Tony Head, Cummins, SA also purchased four heifers, all at $4000.

Apart from the special lot purchased by Nobbs Cattle Co, eight other heifers went to Queensland buyers, with Peter & Toni Rauchle, Springside Simmentals, Pittsworth (two at $9000 and $4500) and the Fairbairn family, Fairhaven stud, Kingaroy (two at $7000 each) being the most prominent.

The two volume buyers at the Woonallee Elite Ladies Female Sale with four heifers each are Jarrad Bonanno, Norman Park Simmentals, Windsor, NSW; his buying agent, Alistair Keller, Landmark Minlaton; and Tony Head, Cummins, SA.

The two volume buyers at the Woonallee Elite Ladies Female Sale with four heifers each are Jarrad Bonanno, Norman Park Simmentals, Windsor, NSW; his buying agent, Alistair Keller, Landmark Minlaton; and Tony Head, Cummins, SA.

The three genetic packages sold to $3750 for 10 straws in Woonallee Las Vegas, this being purchased by John Hopkins, Wormbete Simmentals, through Landmark Wagga; while Paul Tuckey and Tony Head purchased packages in W. Ladykiller, the dual Adelaide and Melbourne champion ($2500), and MRL Capone ($2250) respectively.

Sale Summary                Females                 Genetic Packages

Offered                              36                                             3

Sold                                    36                                             3

Top                             $19,000                                     $3750

Average                         $7208                                     $2833

Agents: Elders Naracoorte

Auctioneer: Ben Finch


Woonallee Future Breeder and Feeder Commercial Female Sale

One of the key buyers at the sale was Daryl Cameron (2nd right), Cann River, Vic with 62 heifers. He is with the three Furner based sale vendors, Chris Bateman, Tom Baker and Dale Bateman.

One of the key buyers at the sale was Daryl Cameron (2nd right), Cann River, Vic with 62 heifers. He is with the three Furner based sale vendors, Chris Bateman, Tom Baker and Dale Bateman.

Weaner heifers hit $1830/head on APlus at Furner

There was a significant premium received by the three vendors in the 8th annual Woonallee Future Breeder and Feeder Commercial Female Sale last Thursday morning (9th February) on Auctions Plus, collectively offering 227 weaned 10 to 11 month old heifers.

The Baker family, ‘Woonallee’, offered 110 heifers, while guest client vendors, Chris and Maris Bateman (85 heifers) and Dale and Trish Bateman (32 heifers) provided the balance. These reached a top of $1830/head and $4.65/kg on a liveweight basis.

Co-ordinated through Tom Dennis, Elders Naracoorte Manager, and Peter Rollason (A+) the bulk of the offering went to repeat buyers, such is the quality and reputation of these bloodlines.

It was the heaviest, but smallest pen in number with just five red Simmental/Angus x Sim/Poll Hereford heifers from Chris and Maris Bateman that sold for $1830/head. They weighed 437.3kg liveweight, equating to $4.18/kg. The purchaser was Russ Bradley, Parklea Pty Ltd, Kastoy, Leongatha.

Chris and Maris Bateman sold 85 heifers offered in four lots that averaged 389kg, $1505.76/hd and $3.87/kg. Russ Bradley also purchased their biggest pen of 35 heifers. Pat Lawlor, Marjong Park, Furner purchased 21 heifers and PPH & S A/c Michael Mattei, Williup purchased a pen of 24 from this line.

Dale and Trish Bateman sold 32 Angus/Simmental x Hereford heifers in two very even lots, these averaging $1405/head and $3.81/kg. Russ Bradley purchased both lots.

The Baker family offered a total of 110 heifers, 85 being Angus/Simmental x Hereford crosses and 25 being straight Angus. The latter were purchased by PPH & S A/c Michael Mattei, but it was the first two pens that produced their top sales results.

Russ Bradley again chipped in, purchasing a pen of 13 predominately red heifers for $1815/head taking his buying numbers up to 85 head. Averaging 390kg liveweight, these topped the sale on a cents/kg basis at $4.65/kg. The first pen of 10 blacks were their heaviest, averaging 414.6kg  and also exceeded $1800, selling at $1810/head, or $4.37/kg; these going to Victorian buyers through sale co-ordinator Tom Dennis, Elders Naracoorte.

Daryl and Lorraine Cameron, Cann River are very long serving purchasers of Woonallee heifers, appreciating how well they breed on for them. They purchased the 62 black heifers in Woonallee’s other three pens, paying up to $1510/head and averaging $1462.90, or $3.97/head.

Overall the Woonallee line of 110 head averaged $1494.50 and $4.08/kg.

The total sale of 227 heifers grossed $337,345, averaging $1486.10/head and $3.96/kg.