*9 of 38 bulls sold to $10,500, av $4444
The Gippsland drought is starting to hit the region's studs, with tough going at bull sales.
Landmark stud stock auctioneer Kevin Norris made a particular point about this at Nunniong Hereford stud, when he told of 2000 cull cows heading to processors the next week.
"East Gippsland has been hit very hard by the drought, and much larger percentages of cows have been scanned not in calf," Mr Norris said at the Ensay stud's on-property sale.
"With this many cows going out of the breeding herds, we did expect, and this was, a tough sale."
There were 38 bulls offered, with only nine being sold under the hammer.
The average price was $4444, only $26 less than last year's result, which was also a tough sale.
The Nunniong bulls presented better than what they did when they were on display during Stock & Land Beef Week earlier this year.
"We got some rain soon after Beef Week, which helped grow a good Lucerne crop, and the bulls have done very well in this short space of time," Nunniong stud principal Phil Commins said.
While it was a tough auction, Lot 2, Nunniong Kenya N076 (H), topped the sale at $10,500 (up $1000 on last year's top price), and was purchased by Phil and Kerrie Geehman, just up the road, in Ensay.
Warringa Kenya K35 (H), an April 2017-drop bull, was out of Nunniong Last Day K120 (H).
The bull showed a birthweight of +8.7 kilograms, 200-day weight of 40kg, 400-day gain of 69kg, and a 600-day weight of 101kg.
The Geehmans battled it out against one other buyer
They said they paid the top price because they wanted the Bowmont bloodlines running through the bull's pedigree.
"We especially like the Bowmont bloodline, and now, this is the only way to have some of that breeding background," Mr Geehman said.
"His temperament is perfect, and he carries himself so well."
Mr Commins, a man of few words, held up his quiet disposition on sale day.
"It was tougher than we expected, as there will be a lot less cows to put to the bulls, because so many are being culled, due to being scanned as empty," he said.
"I am prepared to negotiate post-sale, but I will not prostitute the price; if people want a good quality bull, then they will have to pay.
"After negotiating with Kevin Norris, we set a base price of $3000, unfortunately, we have many to negotiate over, but I would rather cull bulls, than sell them cheap, because it can set a precedent, which may affect sales in future years."