SOME of Australia's best dairy cattle went under the hammer at Allendale East the week before last as part of the Glenorleigh Holsteins Celebration Sale.
The sale was a rare opportunity for buyers to get their hands on some of the country's leading Holstein genetics at affordable prices.
Vendor Bill Thompson said it was a true reflection of where the industry was at - facing a tough season, high input costs and a low milk price, but top-end cattle were still in strong demand.
Described by him as the best four year-old Glenorleigh had Toystory Matsuko made the top of $17,000.
After bidding started at $10,000, the multiple award-winning cow - due to calve in July to Pine-Tree Sid - was knocked down to Trevor and Kimberley Henningsen, Mingbool.
The Henningsens bid strongly on all top-end cattle, also taking the $16,000 second-top price cow Glenorleigh Powerplay Shamrock.
She was supreme intermediate champion at the Royal Adelaide Show in 2011 and in the supreme all-breeds pen of three and pen of five.
The four-year-old was also supreme champion exhibit at the Royal Melbourne All Breeds Youth Show in 2011 and second in the senior three-year-old in-milk class at International Dairy Week this year.
The Henningsens also took a September 2012-drop daughter of the champion Holstein and supreme all-breeds champion at the Royal Melbourne Dairy Show in 2011 Glenorleigh Dundee Piper, at $10,000.
They outlaid another $6250 for Glenorleigh Damion McKail, putting their buying average at $12,312.50.
Mr Henningsen said he was chasing well-bred cows to get good pedigrees and breed on those bloodlines.
"Today was a good opportunity to buy stud cattle while the market is down," he said.
Mr Thompson said he was "absolutely thrilled" that the top-price cattle stayed locally, and had no doubt he would see those cattle out-and-about again.
Glenorleigh herd manager Rob Walmsley, who is leaving Glenorleigh soon for new opportunities at Murray Bridge, took four females including the reigning Royal Adelaide champion Glenorleigh Pirate Peach at $11,000.
Of the 68 cattle offered, 56 sold at an average of $4311. They also went to most parts of Victoria and to the Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills, while underbidding support was from as far as Queensland and the south coast of New South Wales.
Mr Thompson said that with all things considered, top-end cattle made "reasonable money".
He said he had been breeding Holsteins for more than 40 years, and that about 40 head in the sale originated from two cows he and his wife Jo bought at a dispersal sale in 1978.
"We're at a stage in our lives where we probably haven't got a lot of time left in the dairy industry, so we thought it was appropriate that those top-end cows go somewhere else," he said.
"Those cattle have been spread around very widely and for Jo and I that will create a lot of interest in the future."
*Full report in Stock Journal, March 14 issue, 2013.