Records obliterated at Woonallee

Pictured with the $160,000 record breaking Woonallee Los Angeles are Elders auctioneer Ben Finch, purchaser Brett Nobbs, Nobbs Cattle Co, Duaringa, Qld and Woonallee principals Lizzy and Tom Baker, Furner, SA.
Pictured with the $160,000 record breaking Woonallee Los Angeles are Elders auctioneer Ben Finch, purchaser Brett Nobbs, Nobbs Cattle Co, Duaringa, Qld and Woonallee principals Lizzy and Tom Baker, Furner, SA.

Lead bull sold for $160k

The Baker family's 10th Annual Elite Production Sale at Furner, South Australia will go down in the annals as one to remember for a long time, and for all the right reasons.

Record prices weren't just broken; they were obliterated when the lead sale bull, Woonallee Los Angeles L124 (P) (ET) (AI) sold for a mind blowing $160,000 last Thursday (9th Feb).

Sired by the top New Zealand bull Glen Anthony Y-Arta AY02 (P) and out of the magnificent Woonallee Kathie B111 of South African bloodlines via Buzzard Hollow Ranch (USA), this 18 month old and 1030kg bull attracted a huge amount of pre-sale interest and favourable comment. This gave every indication that something exciting might happen, but no-one expected this level of bidding.

The dedicated and highly committed buyer was Brett Nobbs, Nobbs Cattle Co., Duaringa via Rockhampton, Qld who threw in his first bid as it approached $120,000. The bull opened with a $40,000 bid that was quickly countered with a $50,000 on-line bid, taking it past the previous $46,000 breed record, also set by Woonallee when the Baker family sold Woonallee Goldrush G61 (P) to Scott & Wayne York, Billa Park, Dulacca, Qld in 2013.

It rapidly climbed through to new stratospheric levels and at the knockdown it had also passed all previous Bos Taurus prices in this country.

The underbidders were Doug & Jan Bradshaw & family, Blue Dog Simmentals, Wandoan, Qld who bid via the Elite Auctions network. They have previously purchased & had great success with Woonallee genetics, including W. Justified in 2015 for $45,000.

Almost lost in the euphoric aftermath of this top sale was the $32,500 received for the Black Simmental bull, Woonallee Luxembourg (P), breaking the previous $27,500 Australian Black Simmental record set at this sale last year. The purchaser was Peter Howarth, Wombramurra Simmentals, Nundle, NSW.

While these record breaking sales justifiably captured the headlines, they overshadowed what stud principal, Tom Baker described as, “Just the ideal and best ever sale result.”

There was a total clearance of 102 traditional, red and black Simmental and SimAngus bulls for an outstanding average of $9759, with bidders from every state of Australia and New Zealand competing.

“The stud breeders got to have a go at what they wanted, while those who wanted commercial bulls at value were well catered for. In fact, while the records are mind blowing, the most pleasing aspect was all our regular commercial clients were able to buy bulls at good value,” Tom Baker said.

Even with the far more buoyant commercial industry at present, 32% sold for $5000 or less and 48% sold for $6000 or less, representing extremely good value, especially for the quality on offer right through the catalogue.

With 103 registrations at the sale, plus a further 26 registered on-line through Elite Livestock Auctions, there were always going to be some who missed out on select bulls, but to support Tom Baker’s summary, 23 successful commercial bidders from the immediate South East region of the state purchased 40% (41 bulls) of the offering.

While Western Australian and New Zealand bidders missed out on their bull selections, at the sale’s conclusion 29 South Australian buyers had purchased 49 bulls, 12 NSW buyers had purchased 29 bulls, eight Victorian buyers had purchased 13 bulls, five Tasmanian buyers had purchased six bulls and five Queensland buyers had purchased five bulls. The five Queensland buyers might have been last on that list, but they were very prominent at the pointy end of the sale; their five bulls collectively averaging $46,500 which was above the previous breed record price.

Of course the stars amongst that result were Woonallee Los Angeles and his purchaser, Brett Nobbs. It is very early in the development of Nobbs Cattle Co’s pure Simmental breeding program, with 100 traditional coloured females and two herd sires of which Los Angeles is now one. The herd is based on successful South African bloodlines that Brett has brought in, with the aim of being able to market a top line of Simmental bulls in 2019.

Brett first purchased from Woonallee at their 2015 Elite Ladies Female Sale, purchasing the special “pick of the entire 2014 drop heifers” for $16,000. Ultimately his selection went on to be the Junior Champion female at Melbourne and reserve at Adelaide Royals and happened to be the full sister to this record bull. He also purchased the same “pick of the 2016 drop heifers” at the female sale the night before this sale, for $17,000. It was while he was down selecting that initial heifer that he first saw Los Angeles on his recipient dam.

He may be relatively new to Simmental breeding, but is one of the most widely respected and successful Brahman breeders in the country and in explaining his record bull purchase said, “I see a lot of beef bulls, and this bull is extraordinary; a once in a lifetime bull.”

“With that weight for age, his softness, skin, fat cover, performance levels and pedigree, he’s got it all, and also with such an amazing temperament.”

“I’ve only ever seen one other bull like that before, which was a Brahman imported from the USA. I’m confident this bull will be a game and breed changer,” Brett said.

Woonallee principal Tom Baker said, “The bull is an outstanding individual, both phenotypically and genetically.” Woonallee is retaining 200 straws of semen for in-herd use only.

The bull will be collected for export semen sales and while yet undecided, Brett said there is a possibility that limited packages may be offered within Australia.

“We wanted to start with the best and the quality of inputs is so important in the quality you produce. This sale result is good for the breed and we believe he can have a big impact with the right opportunities,” Brett concluded.

While this record sale was way out in front of anything else, there were many other top sales that would have commanded headlines themselves on any other day. There were 26 bulls that sold for $10,000 or better.

Sometimes there is a real lull after a record sale, but not this time, with the lot 2 bull, W. Lampoon, an impressive Starwest Total Value son going for $37,000 to Rob, Elisabeth, Rebecca and William Skene, Meldon Park Simmentals, Dalby, Qld. They bid on-line through Elite Livestock Auctions and outlasted Tom, Adeline and Jim Sanson, Gold Creek Simmentals, Tekaraka, New Zealand who were present at the sale.

Rounding out the successful Queensland buying were Olinda Grazing through Landmark Rockhampton (1 at $13,500); Russell Kenny through Landmark Munduburra (1 at $13,000); and AJ Horvath & RA Ware, Mungallala (1 at $9000).

Peter Howarth, Wombramurra Black Simmentals, Nundle, NSW brought some of the headlines below the Queensland border with the new Australian Black Simmental record purchase at $32,500 for W. Luxembourg (P). One lot earlier he bid to $27,000 before securing Woonallee Lorenzo (P) (ET) (AI). These two bulls were sired by W. Humdinger and Wheatland Ultimate Choice respectively, with John Hopkins, Wormbete Simmentals, Illabo, NSW being the unlucky underbidder on both lots.

Wombramurra is one of the largest Black Simmental herds in Australia, run in partnership by Peter with Andrew Chapman who manages the herd, both inspecting all the bulls at the beginning of January.

“We are always looking for new genetics, but the quality must be there. We have reached a stage in our herd development that we were looking for top bulls that were homozygous polled and homozygous black and it so happened that Tom and Lizzy Baker had two bulls that fitted the bill in the same year,” Peter Howarth said.

“Tom and Lizzy have done a lot of work in sourcing top genetics that work well in Australia, so really these two bulls were cheap as they are the right ones for our needs and the Baker family and their staff have done all the hard work in producing them.

“What makes them ideal for us is they have excellent structure, very good angle and strength in their hocks, ideal tail setting, smooth hair type and are in the top quartile on Breedplan for most traits,” Peter concluded.

He also purchased a SimAngus for $6500, and the night before, the top priced Black Simmental female for $12,000.

Stephen Gill, Alexander Downs, Merriwa runs a big Angus cross feedlot producing branded wholesale meats and paid the $26,000 top price at last August’s Wombramurra bull sale. He followed that up at this sale with the purchase of Woonallee Lamborghini L276 (P), another black Humdinger son, for $18,000.

Other prominent NSW buyers included Stuart Moeck, Valley Creek Simmentals through Landmark Mossvale, purchasing W. Landlord (P) (ET) (AI) for $16,000; Peter Cook, Barana Pastoral, Gunnedah, purchasing W. Looking Glass (P) for $15,000; and John and Jennifer Turner, Mahonga Park, Rand, who paid $11,000 and $6000 for two top bulls.

Long term Woonallee supporters, The Marriot family, Murroka Pty Ltd, through Elders Bairnsdale headed the Victorian buying support.

They bought four bulls at an $8750 average, kicking off their purchases with the aptly named W. Launching Pad (P), sired by the great Tornado for $16,000.

Troy Randell, through Corcoran and Parker, Wangaratta was successful in bidding $15,000 for W. Loyal, later adding a $9000 bull to his buying list. Rosebank Pastoral, Casterton paid $12,000 for W. Labyrinth (P) to round out the Victorian higher priced purchases.

The Tasmanian bull buying honours were headed by M & M Partridge, Summerhill Simmentals through Roberts Launceston, getting in early and picking up W. Lamborn (P) (ET) (AI) for just $10,000 while Nathan & Leah Skirving, Rosehill stud, East Sassafras were not far behind with a successful $9000 bid on a top Black Simmental bull after purchasing two black heifers the night before. 

Lewis Bruggemann, Glental Simmentals, Mallala successfully bid $16,000 for W. Lightning (P) (AI), a young smooth coated standout son of CCR Cowboy Cut 50482, also being homozygous for both colour and polled.

Chris and Maris Bateman, Furner, fresh from morning success with their commercial heifers in the Woonallee Future Breeders and Feeder commercial weaner female sale as guest vendors that saw them achieve up to $1830/head, reinvested in more top Woonallee genetics, purchasing two traditional bulls, both at $14,000.