*30 of 37 bulls sold to $18,000, av $6053
Willaura stud Mount William Charloais' top-priced bull is headed for the largest pure-bred Charolais herd in Australia after it was sold last week for $18,000.
The stud recorded an 81 per cent clearance rate at its 21st on-property bull sale, selling 30 of the 37 bulls on offer to 28 registered buyers.
The top-priced bull, Mount William Plum Lot 7, was bought by Palgrove Pastoral Co, Dalveen, Queensland.
The rising two-year-old bull recorded estimated breeding values (EBVs) of +0.8 kilograms birth weight, +11kg 200-day weight, +25kg 400-day weight and +34kg 600-day weight.
Its EMA was +3.1 square centimetres.
The bull was in the top one per cent of its breed for IMF and rib/rump fat and the top five per cent for EMA.
Mount William Charloais stud principal Rob Abbott said he was pleased with the result, despite mixed emotions prior to the sale.
"It was always going to be tougher this year and it was a difficult one to pick because we've had this rain up north, there was a positive mood in the industry, but it doesn't rain money and it doesn't rain cows numbers," he said.
"One of the determining factors in any stud is the number of females because if people don't have females, they don't need bulls so part of me was excited because of the season we've had, but there was another part of me that thought it was going to be a bit tough."
However, a strong and mixed gallery of buyers from across Victoria and South Australia bought bulls at the sale, including from Gippsland and the state's south-west.
"The farmers that we sell to probably hadn't been affected in the way the guys in the north are by having to destock and sell cows because of the cost of feeding them," Mr Abbott said.
Return buyer and recently retired stock agent Terry Dove, Colac, was among the volume buyers, purchasing four Charolais bulls at the sale.
Another notable buyer included Robert Woodward, Garrison Cattle Feeders, Murray Downs, who bought two bulls after purchasing six bulls in 2016.
Mr Abbott said he was thankful Palgrove Pastoral Co - the largest registered Charloais herd in Australia - and the other buyers supported the stud at its annual sale.
"This year was the first time we actually poll-tested our cattle because unless you test them you don't know if they're homozygous polled which means it won't have any calves with horns," he said.
"Our top-priced bull was homozygous polled ... and while polled is not a performance trait, it is something people are more actively searching for."
The stud also sold 10 straws of Palgrove Hannibal semen for $210 per straw to Challambi Charolais, Tooma, NSW as well as 12 heifers to $3100, averaging $2136.
"The sale came off a little better than expected and we had some good under bidders at $8500-$10,500 which lifted the average of the sale," Charles Stewart Dove auctioneer Shelby Howard said.
"We had a lot of local support from Colac and the surrounding areas which was also pleasing to see."
Palgrove Pastoral Co genetics manager Ben Noller said the bull would be joined to the stud herd in autumn.
"He bought him for his moderation in frame but also his fat content because he was in the top one per cent for his rib and rump fat and IMF," Mr Noller said.