NEW VENTURE: Ravenswood Angus stud principals John Gommers and Anna Crowley will be among more than 70 studs to participate in Stock Journal Beef Week.

Bull sale season set to be buoyant

The 2018 SA bull selling season is expected to come close to mirroring the sensational averages and near total clearances that occurred last year.

The 2018 SA bull selling season is expected to come close to mirroring the sensational averages and near total clearances that occurred last year.

But agents acknowledge weaner returns are back $100 to $150 a head and Thomas Foods International’s abattoir fire has dented short-term confidence.

In the next month, more than 30 on-property sales will be held across the state, including more than 800 bulls on offer in SA Angus Week.

Landmark SA stud stock manager Gordon Wood predicts only a “slight decrease” in averages.

“Those in the beef job have generally been getting very good returns for a few years and will still look to keep improving their herds,” he said.

Mr Wood says there is no reason why clearances could not be similar to the 90 per cent-plus achieved in 2017, although the season in the pastoral area had been variable, with the Western Division of NSW particularly dry.

Sale bulls are in great condition due to the good seasons in grazing lands, with this matched with excellent performance figures.

“There is definitely a push by many to positive fat (estimated breeding values) while maintaining muscle and fast growth as breeders chase natural doing-ability and cows that are able to rear a calf and get back in-calf,” Mr Wood said.

Elders SA stud stock manager Tony Wetherall expects buyers will have similar budgets.

“While the market has taken a little check in the past month or so, prices are historically still very good,” he said.

“At last year’s sales we had only had a little taste of the good pricing – if it had continued we could have seen prices rise even more but I believe (producers) will be willing to buy the best they can at a similar price.”

Mr Wetherall said the use of video and sales interfaced with AuctionsPlus was continuing to grow as studs used technology to promote their bulls to a wider audience.

Spence Dix & Co director Jonathan Spence says the 2018 season could present opportunities for buyers.

“Bull sales were outstanding last year after weaner record prices and we also had a great season in the pastoral areas bringing pastoral demand, whereas it is a bit drier this year,” he said.

“We could see prices back 20-25pc in line with the easing of the cattle market.”

He says with the large numbers of heifers being retained there may be a premium for calving ease bulls.

MURRAY Bridge Angus breeder John Gommers says it is an exciting time to be in the beef industry with “everyone being rewarded for their efforts”.

After a short hiatus, he and wife Bek have made a return to stud breeding, in partnership with Adelaide Hills producers Richard and Anna Crowley, under the prefix Ravenswood Angus.

Across two decades, Mr Gommers built up the Stoney Point stud at Keith to become one of the state’s largest suppliers of Angus bulls.

But in 2014 the majority of the herd, along with that prefix, was sold to fellow stud breeder Perry Gunner, Meningie.

At the same time the Crowleys, who were commercial clients, bought some autumn-calving cows, plus females aged more than nine years, United States donor cows and some Australian donor females.

The Crowleys have continued to add to the herd and were a major buyer at Stoney Point’s 2017 autumn cow herd dispersal.

Mr Gommers, who continued to manage the Stoney Point stud until May 2016, made enquiries about genetics with the Crowleys in spring last year.

From there they struck up a deal.

“When we were going through the cattle it was exciting to see the next generation coming through,” he said.

“They had stayed true to the genetics I feel make good Angus cattle, both from a genetic and phenotypic standpoint.”

Ravenswood will hold two open days during Stock Journal Beef Week, one at Balhannah on Sunday and another the following day at Naracoorte.

Thirty rising two-year-old and spring 2016-drop bulls from the stud’s sale draft will be available for inspection and private sale, with sires represented including Matuari Reality, WMR Timeless and VAR Generation 2100, which sold for $US300,000.

In 2019, Ravenswood plans to holds its inaugural bull sale.

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