Plenty of bulls: Despite the drought-induced cancellations, agents say the bulls that would have been prepared for auction are still available for private sale. Picture: Sally Cripps.

Western bull sales another drought casualty

Two bull sales have become the latest casualty of the ongoing drought in western Queensland, while another is forging ahead with its plans.

Two multi-breed, multi-vendor bull sales have become the latest casualty of the ongoing drought in western Queensland, while another is forging ahead with its plans.

GDL and Elders have made the difficult decision to cancel the GDL Blackall Black Stump sale set down for mid-March and the Elders Longreach Outback sale that was to take place at the end of March.

However, the Australian Topstock Barcaldine bull sale, featuring Angus, Red Angus and Senegus bulls, is still scheduled for February 23.

Spokesman, James Lilburne, said the sale would go ahead every year, no matter what.

“The last five or six years have been tough but it’s our view that if people are doing it tough, we will too.

“Last year we thought it would be really tough but we sold lots of bulls.

“We expect anyone who turns up will get good bulls for little money.”

James also said buyers from southern parts of Queensland, where more rain had been received, were regular attendees and likely to be wanting bulls even if those from around the Barcaldine venue were unable to buy.

It was a different story from Elders and GDL stud stock representatives, Michael Smith and Mark Duthie.

“People have been through another 12 months of very dry weather and it was my view that it wasn’t fair to expect vendors to prepare bulls in that market, and not fair to expect people to buy in those sorts of conditions,” Michael said.

“Last year’s Longreach sale was the first for four or five years, when there was some rain relief in the system, but we got to the stage at the end of January of having to make the call for this year.

“It wasn’t a decision we made lightly, especially after rebranding the sale and getting it up and going again.”

Mark said GDL’s view was that everyone was in sell mode, or trying to hang on to what they had, and they had to take the season and its impact into account.

“It’s better just to put it in the box for next year,” he said.

It’s the second time the Black Stump sale has been cancelled since starting in 2008, with seasonal conditions the deciding factor against holding a sale in 2014 as well.

When it resumed in 2015, there was a 57 per cent clearance, a top price of $5000 and an average of $3600.

By 2016, this had risen to a 95pc clearance rate, a top price of $7000 and an average of $4236.

In 2017, the top price was $11,000, with a $4808 average and an 88pc clearance.

Mark said there would have been between 100 and 120 bulls slated for preparation for Blackall this year, and both agents said private sales were still available despite the cancellations.

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