Pathfinder stud's 24th annual SA bull sale at Naracoorte -the largest offering for SA Angus Week- grossed a magical $1.46 million last Thursday, but it was also a very fair sale for buyers.
In a two and a half hour selling marathon, Nick and Sara Moyle sold 130 of 134 bulls for a $11,246 average- up an impressive $2366 on 2020's result.
This though was one of the more modest jumps in average for SA Angus Week.
Twenty five of the sale's bulls made $15,000 or more but the 65 registered bidders from SA, Vic, Tas and NT were still able to buy 41 bulls from $6000 to $8000.
The sale's heaviest bull, lot 2, Pathfinder Prophet Q400, was also the $29,000 sale topper.
The March 2019 drop which tipped the scales at 1020 kilograms was an AI-bred son of United States bull GAR Prophet.
It was knocked down to Trevor and Teresa Hall, Quarterway Angus stud, Scottsdale, Tas, who also bought a Pathfinder sire at the Moyle family's Vic sale a few years ago.
Mr Hall said Prophet represented an outcross for their herd which produces about 100 bulls a year.
They were also drawn to Q400's "good spread of figures" ranking in the top 5 per cent of the breed for all indexes on the Trans Tasman evaluation, including +66 for 200 day weight and +106 for 400 day weight.
"He has a tonne of meat and thickness through the hindquarter," Mr Hall said.
"Back home we could sell bulls like him all day long so hopefully he breeds like that."
The $20,000 second highest price bull, lot 58, Pathfinder Beastmode Q410, was also Tas bound.
The powerful March 2019-drop son of Baldridge Beast Mode B074, which was in the top 1pc for all growth traits was bought by repeat buyer DB Harvey, King Island.
High prices were scatted throughout the catalogue showing the depth of quality with lot 69, Pathfinder Konquer Q481, making $19,000.
Blue Fire Nominees, Robe, bought Q481 which was by homebred sire Pathfinder General K7, a bull that sold for $41,000 at Pathfinder's 2016 sale.
Commercial buyers are always the main stay of the auction but the Tiller family, Goolagong stud, Warnertown, added two new sires to their herd, a Pathfinder Maximus son for $16,000 and lot 93 for $14,000.
Perennial sale supporters, the Woodard family, Peel Pastoral, Wrattonbully, won many of the bidding duels to secure seven bulls for a $13,143 average, including lot 32 at $17,000.
Penola Park, Mount Gambier, bought six bulls to $17,000, averaging $13,000.
Many Vic buyers took advantage of the SA-Vic border re-opening on sale day after Vic's five day lockdown ended, although the crowd was still smaller than 2020 when buyers were shoulder to shoulder.
First-time buyer Andrew Graham, Hawkesdale, Vic, made the trip to secure nine bulls at $6000-$8000.
George Tait & Co, Casterton, Vic, bought in the top end of the catalogue with four bulls to $16,000, averaging $11,500.
Frenzied bidding often continues well into the spring 2019 drops but this year these younger bulls represented some of the best buying.
Of the 27 bulls on offer, 24 sold to $15,000 twice and averaging $9000.
Two Beast Mode sons -lot 123 and lot 124 - were equal top in the category.
Lot 123, Pathfinder Magnum Q1186 was knocked down to Elite Livestock Auctions who were the sale's online platform.
Lot 124, sold to Alistair Just, St Vincents, Sellicks Hill - a buyer of one of last year's $19,000 sale toppers.
The Fleurieu Peninsula buyer also bought lot 24 and lot 25 for $18,000 and $17,000.
Mr Moyle was pleased the addition of 15 more bulls to the sale this year had the desired effect of providing buyers with plenty of value for money.
"It was fantastic to see some good buying, particularly towards the end of the sale and people didn't have to compromise on the bulls they wanted," he said.
"We are really lucky to have loyal clients, we really appreciate them coming back year after year."
Mr Moyle said the stud's aim remained to "have the most profitable clients" in the business" breeding cattle that produce progeny with early growth that are easy doing to keep the cost of production down but also have the carcase traits desired by the industry.
"Processors are offering $7.30/kg (carcaseweight) out to September so there is a lot of positivity in the cattle market and on the back of that buyers have felt confident in their bull buying," he said.
"We have been receiving some great feedback from backgrounders who have our clients steers that are seeing the advantage of our genetics which is great to see."
Nutrien SA stud stock manager Gordon Wood said it was a "mammoth effort" to clear 130 bulls but noted the sale offered bulls for all budgets.
"It was a reasonable crowd but not as big as some years. Whether there was a bit of thought that maybe this thing might be too dear, whether that held some people back who went elsewhere earlier in the week I'm not sure," he said.
He said the performance data on the bulls was among the best in Australia but it was the "repeatability and predictability" of the bulls that kept buyers coming back.
"They are run fairly hard under commercial type conditions and not handled with kit gloves and the temperament of these bulls is outstanding, "he said.
"The bulls that made $15,000 all day were those with low birth and high growth with the carcase data right, as soon as the birth weight crept up to above average the buyers dropped off."
Nutrien Naracoorte conducted the sale with Mr Wood sharing the rostrum with stud stock's Richard Miller and veteran Kevin Norris.
Pathfinder's Vic sale will be held on Wednesday with another 120 bulls to go under the hammer.
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