By Kane Chatfield, Farm Weekly
THE Cowcher family celebrated the 30th anniversary of its annual Willandra Simmental and Red Angus bull sale at Williams last week with a strong sale result.
Widespread support from the southern and eastern agricultural areas saw its loyal band of clients and new buyers warm to the top annual line-up of 51 traditional Simmental and Red Angus bulls, lifting the sale’s overall clearance and gross returns from last year.
With bellies full of what was described by several pundits as among the best steaks at a WA bull sale, the Landmark selling team led by auctioneer Michael Altus got to work to clear 43 of 51 bulls (84 per cent) at auction to average $6023 overall.
Compared to last year’s sale three more bulls had sold from the same number offered with the gross improving $13,250 from $245,750 to $259,000 while the overall average slipped slightly by $121 from $6144 to $6023.
The sale’s top prices for both breeds were recorded twice with the Simmentals selling to $11,500 and the Red Angus to $9000.
First to pay top dollar from the outset was Landmark national livestock manager Leon Giglia who was bidding via phone for the Baker family’s Woonallee Simmental stud, Millicent, South Australia – one of Australia’s foremost Simmental herds.
The $11,500 price tag was paid for Willandra Marmaduke M7 (P) in lot one, an early April 2016 drop son of Topweight Jack Arta and Willandra Olive K12 weighing just 33 kilograms at birth.
The 904kg polled bull was extremely high indexing with below average birthweight and solid growth ranking in the breed’s top 1-5pc for all indexes +$62 domestic maternal (DMI), +$39 northern terminal (NTI), +$88 export maternal (EMI), +$52 vealer terminal (VTI), top 20-25pc for all growth intervals, top 15pc for carcase weight (CW) (+34) with positive fats.
Mr Giglia said the Bakers were looking for a soft skinned, good fleshing and lower birthweight bull to use over their heifers.
The Baker and Cowcher families have sourced Simmental genetics from each other’s herds in the past.
Danny Partridge and Jenny Maye, Tullamore Park Simmental stud, Busselton, paid the equal $11,500 top price for the next lot containing Willandra Muscles M72.
Muscles was born in late April, 2016 to homebred Willandra parents Hannibal and Evita D14 and was another high indexing sire.
The 892kg bull ranked in the top 1pc (+$40) for northern terminal index (NTI) and top 5-10pc for the balance +$53 DM, +$85 EM, +$46 VT, top 10pc for 600-day weight (+65), top 15pc 200-day weight (+25), top 25pc CW and top 30pc for 400-day weight and IMF.
Mr Partridge said it was the second sire they had purchased from Willandra after being very happy with the performance of their first bull they bought a couple of years ago.
He said Muscles would be used over their herd’s mainly polled second calvers for a late April early May calving.
“Coat type and style is important to us, he is a soft bull with good weights, fats and growth,” Mr Partridge said.
Tullamore Park sells bulls on-farm privately and has sold two sires to WA studs this year.
Kalgan operation Price Family Farms paid the sale’s next highest price of $9500 deep into the Simmental run for Willandra Marvel M88 in lot 31.
The 834kg late April 2016 drop son of Woonallee Genuine recorded strong performance data including all indexes in the top 5-20pc, top 15-20pc for all growth intervals, top 20pc CW and positive fats.
Familiar faces at the Willandra sale the Foster brothers, FJ & M Foster & Sons, Cowaramup, paid $9000 for their new Simmental bull Willandra Morrison M105.
The 842kg was another high-indexing polled son of Topweight Jack Arta, ranking in the top 1pc for NTI and top 5-10pc for other indexes, top 15-20pc for growth, top 15pc for CW and positive fats.
Other higher prices in the Simmental draft include $8500 paid by F Pessotto & Sons, Manjimup for a polled Jack Arta son and the Topweight Simmental stud, Forest Grove, who outlaid $8000 for a huge indexing, high growth son of Willandra Huckleberry.
But it was 20 years plus Willandra client Gordon Atwell, Welldon Beef, Williams, who dominated proceedings in the Simmentals, collecting 10 bulls costing from $4000 to $6500.
The bulls will join the battery to cover the family’s large Angus herd with the resulting April-May Simmental-Angus steer and heifer calves destined for their own feedlot.
Other multiple Simmental bull buyers with two bulls each were JB & H Wringe, Donnybrook, Yandilla Grazing, Manypeaks and Deeside Muirs, Manjimup.