A CROWD of more than 200 witnessed one of the best auctions of the selling season at Banquet Angus stud, Mortlake, Vic, on Thursday last week, with a total clearance of 96 autumn and spring-drop bulls to a tremendous $48,000 top.
The Branson family's sale average of $9625 - a jump of $400 from the 2018 sale - reflected the strong competition from the 103 registered bidders.
Attracting the hottest competition was Banquet National N278, a 975-kilogram 19-month-old knocked down to regular buyers Charles and Cass Kimpton, Toora West stud, Glenthompson, Vic, for the sale top of $48,000.
Sired by Ascot Hallmark H147 and from Banquet Julia W164, National N278 averaged a monthly weight gain of more than 50kg.
With explosive Breedplan growth figures at +112 for 400-day weight and +159 for 600-day weight to support National N278's extraordinary length, fleshing and raw data, the Kimptons couldn’t have been happier with their purchase.
“When you see a run of bulls like we’ve had presented today and look at the depth of quality in them, and then you see one and it still stands out, well, it must be good,” Mr Kimpton said.
He said National N278 stood out for its "enormous ability to gain weight", while Mrs Kimpton felt the bull would add "roundness and softness" to the herd.
“We think it will allow us to keep the frame and scale that we’ve already got, while probably adding a little bit more roundness and softness to some of our cattle," she said.
Catalogued at lot 20, National N278 was brought forward and offered after lot 2, along with its full flush brother Banquet Nationwide N301.
Nationwide N301 weighed 910kg at 18 months of age, and was snapped up by Tom Shoobridge, Cleveland Cattle Estate, Ouse, Tas - underbidder on the top price bull - for $20,000.
The sale's equal second-highest price of $22,000 was first paid by Webb Pastoral manager Duncan Newcomen, Glenburn, Vic, for lot 1, Banquet Noonan N033. Sired by Banquet Lascelles L022, Noonan N033 weighed 970kg at 23 months, with figures of +129 for 600-day weight, +5.7 for birthweight, +5.8 for eye muscle area and +1.8 for intramuscular fat.
Six lots later he completed his buying needs when he bid $16,000 for Banquet Neal N129, a well-balanced and free-moving son of Banquet Larry L046. Neal N129 had figures of +124 for 600-day weight, +4.5 birthweight, +4.4 EMA and +1.4 IMF.
Ron Phillips, Kyneton, Vic, also bid to $22,000 to secure Banquet Nagambie N038, one of the heaviest bulls in the draft at 970kg at 23 months.
The volume buying honours were split three ways.
Long-term buyer Russ Davis, Preswon, chimed in with an $11,000 bid for Banquet Nuske N091 at lot 2 to open his buying account. He then added three more bulls to $12,000, averaging $11,000 across the four.
Through manager Glen White, Dunkeld Pastoral Co hit higher levels, paying $15,000 for Banquet Nevcon N061 at lot 7, then adding bulls at $14,000, $12,000 and $10,000 to average $12,750.
Chris and Paula Riches, Romsdale Park, Irrewillipe, Vic, also bought four, paying to $12,000 and averaging $8250.
John MacLachlan, Glencoe Angus, Sale, Vic, paid the sale’s equal third-highest price of $20,000 for Banquet Nevin N019, an impressive 930kg bull with a great hindquarter.
Three SA buyers took two bulls each.
IE Leask, Penola, paid $11,000 and $7000; Mathew and Tracey Parker, through TDC Penola paid $9000 and $8000, while P,GM&AR Bourne, Naracoorte, paid $11,000 and $6000.
Banquet's Stephen Branson was thrilled with the sale result.
“It was a fantastic day; one of those out of the box really," he said.
"We were excited and proud of the quality and evenness of the line of bulls, and that was represented in the result. It was another confidence boost for our many long standing clients, plus the new ones."
Preceding the bull sale, JM Ellis & Co's Jack Hickey auctioned off 139 Banquet-blood mated heifers offered by Robbie and Marg Patterson, Drysdale Partnership, Mortlake. Offered in eight lots, topped at $2150 and averaged $2024.
Landmark and Elders conducted the sale, with Landmark's Kevin Norris and Elders' Ross Milne splitting the auctioneers' duties for the bull section.