Colin and Barbara Hill have a love of cross-breed cattle, and don't care what others might say about their passion.
Their dedication to their herd's breeding program was repaid on Monday at the Mortlake prime sale when the heifer portion of their load of 11 cross-breeds sold to 447 cents a kilogram or $1653 a head. The steer portion made 420c/kg.
The couple and their son Jordan, run about 40 breeding cows plus offspring and bulls, as well as prime lamb mothers, on about 120 hectares at Wurdi Buloc in the Western District.
Mr Hill said the price was the highest price they had ever received in more than 45 years.
The Hill's agent for the past 32 years, Will Richardson congratulated the family.
Mr Richardson said the price was the best he had ever seen.
He said the heifers often held their finish better than the steers when conditions got cold.
Mr Hill said pure breeds were extremely rare on their property.
"We've used everything. A lot of people worry about the way they look - I reckon they look beautiful," he said.
"We use cross-breed cows and cross-breed bulls," he said.
The grand sire of the bull that sired this draft was out of a Shorthorn cow joined by AI to Beefmaker a United States Simmental bull. The female progeny was then joined to a US Poll Hereford bull, Global, via AI. The females also had some Limousin blood via an AI sire, Wulfs Rambler.
Mr Hill said they had selected carefully on temperament.
"When we are selecting bulls the first thing I look at is temperament and the first thing Barbara looks at is birth weight," he said.
He said they had "avoided for a long time going to black" but this year had used some Angus semen.
He said they were not afraid of breeding cross-breed bulls. The aim was to turn calves off as vealers.
"They come off green grass and grass hay - not a teaspoon of grain goes into them," he said.
Vealer prices generally firm
Numbers at the NVLX Barnawartha declined for the first sale of winter. MLA's National Livestock Reporting Service reported that not all domestic or export buyers operated fully with restockers and feedlots keeping a floor prices.
The pick of the vealers sold from 390c/kg to 414c/kg.
The NLRS reported that well finished trade weight steers were limited with the odd few supplementary fed.
Feed lot competition was strong due to a very good line up of well-bred secondary steers and heifers. Prices for feed steers were unchanged making from 355ckg to 414c/kg. Feeder heifers, 330 to 400kg, sold to similar trends selling at 335c/kg to 394c/kg.
At Pakenham on Tuesday, quality vealers suited to butchers sold to firm demand while secondary calves to turn out sold at cheaper prices. The MLA's National Livestock Reporting Service reported that vealers sold from 330c/kg to 440c/kg. Yearling trade steers made from 360c/kg to 410c/kg.
The NLRS reported that the trade section at Shepparton on Tuesday was the shining light as competition increased from processors trying to secure the lines of better finished cattle.
The report said feedlotters and restockers also remained active, with the market generally 6c/kg to 10c/kg dearer. The vealers to the trade made from 366c/kg to 416c/kg with restockers paying to 448c/kg for lighter weighted calves.