*55 of 57 bulls sold to $28,000, av $10,214
A Hereford stud in Victoria's high country has beaten is previous best average, selling 96 per cent of its bulls on offer with its top-priced bull heading to the state's north-east.
Karoonda Hereford stud at Gelantipy sold 55 of its 57 Hereford bulls to set a new best average of $10,214, the first time the stud has achieved a five-figure average.
Buyers from three states bought bulls at the on-property auction on Tuesday, with a handful of studs operating during the hour-long sale including Glenellerslie Hereford stud, Adelong, NSW, which bought Lot 10 for $13,000.
Karoonda Hereford stud principal Paul Sykes said about 80 per cent of the draft was bought by return clients.
"We were concerned about clearance before the sale but as it turns out we had a strong clearance and achieved a much higher average than we expected," Mr Sykes said.
"When calves line up in Omeo and Benambra, they have to be consistent and our bulls have to be the same and I think the amount of return buyers proves that's exactly what we're doing."
The top-priced bull, Lot 3 Karoonda Warrigul, was bought by Hereford breeders Neil and Bernice Mitchell, Burrowye, who bought three bulls in total including an equal third top-priced bull for $22,000.
Coincidentally, the Mitchells bought the top-priced bull at Glenellerslie Hereford stud for $18,500 in February.
Three bulls were passed in at auction, with one selling after the sale.
Mrs Mitchell said the couple focused on the physical attributes of the bull when they selected him prior to the sale, placing less emphasis on its Breedplan data.
"He's square and deep and that's why he stood really out to us," Mrs Mitchell said.
"These bulls have fantastic temperament and all you have to do is watch them go through the yards."
The Mitchells breed steers and fatten bullocks and run a herd of about 800 mainly Hereford cattle.
The horned March 2019-drop bull was by proven sire Glenwarrah Men At Work out of Karoonda First Day and weighed in at 926 kilograms.
"A lot of people look at the figures but we think by using our eyes helps us buy the best bulls," Mrs Mitchell said.
"My father used to sell bulls over to Omeo and Benambra and did so for many years so we have a strong connection to the area and are pleased to return to the stud to buy these bulls."
The second top-priced bull, Lot 4 Karoonda Wakefield, was bought by McRae Trading Trust, Hawkesdale.
The July 2019-drop bull was sired by Ironbark Rambo out of Karoonda First Day and weighed 768kg.
Wet in the high country
The Gelantipy area had received more than 22 millimetres of rain in the 12 hours leading up to the sale, with an estimated 5-10mm fallen in the hours after the auction.
Mr Sykes said it was a rewarding result after a challenge 18 months following last year's Black Summer bushfires.
"We still have two sets of cattle yards to redo and we've repaired over 40 kilometres of fencing and we've had a lot of help along the way," Mr Sykes said.
"This time last year we had bulls getting through into the neighbours and then COVID came along so it's really been an interesting 12 months."
Nutrien south east stud stock auctioneer Peter Godbolt said many of the bulls on offer went to the Omeo, Benambra, Bairnsdale and South Gippsland areas.
"The pleasing result was that there was several stud breeders operating here too so it shows the strength of where the breeding program has gone over the last few years here at Karoonda," Mr Godbolt said.
"The demand for these bulls in the last few years has increased big time."
"It's the first time the stud has had an average over $10,000 and it shows that off the back of what the market has been doing over the last two years, people are willing to dig deep and get the bulls of their choice to improve their cow heard."