FROM the opening bid of $20,000 for lot 1 the big crowd at Sterita Park's Angus bull sale on Monday sensed they were about to witness something special, that was exactly what eventuated.
In quick fire bidding, the DiGiorgio family averaged an astonishing $19,689 for the 106 autumn and spring 2020 drop bulls in their Lucindale sale.
This obliterated their 2021 sale average by $7373 and became the new pacesetter for SA Angus Week bull sale averages.
Long-time client Legh Winser, Benara Pastoral, Mount Gambier, bought seven of the first eight bulls through the ring and kept bidding until the final bull at lot 113 which he bought for $19,000.
His tally of 50 bulls accounted for nearly half of the catalogue with these averaging $21,100.
Among these were lot 4, Sterita Park R181 and lot 5, Sterita Park R114, which were both knocked down at $34,000.
There were only a few occasions when Benara Pastoral was outbid on its $1.055m spending spree but one of them was for the sale topper lot 8, Sterita Park R111.
James and Leticia Gosse, Penola, paid $38,000 - a new stud record - for the 812 kilogram, Millah Murrah Loch Up son.
Mr Gosse said R111 appealed for its flexibility to be used over both heifers and cows with calving ease and gestation length figures both in the top 20 per cent of the Angus breed.
Elders Naracoorte branch manager Tom Dennis said the Gosses' autumn drop calves had been attracting scores of repeat buyers in the Naracoorte weaner sales, while their spring drop calves were selling well on AuctionsPlus.
"We chased this one because he is deep sided with a heavy framed body and a big round butt," he said.
Other volume buyers among the 61 registered bidders included repeat clients, the Bainger family, Hillcrest Pastoral Company, Avenue Range.
They bought 10 bulls to $24,000, averaging $18,300.
Thomas Elder Consulting's Bruce Creek was successful on seven bulls for Kangaringa, Keith, to $22,000, averaging $17,143 for them.
Tom Green, TFI Rural's general manager of their Southern Cross properties at Tintinara, was another top end buyer with five bulls for a $23,600 average.
Rounding out the sale were thirteen spring drop bulls which were largely AI and ET bred, they averaged $17,462.
These topped at $24,000 for lot 104, a Rennylea L519 son with growth figures all in the top 10 per cent, along with rib and rump fat in the top 20pc.
It sold to another long-time client the Savage family, Chesapeake Pastoral, Lochaber, who also bought two ET flush brothers, bred from United States embryos, for $19,000 and $20,000.
Stud principal Nanni DiGiorgio said the result was "never something he expected in his wildest dreams".
"I thought it (the average) might have been up a little bit on last year but I was going to be happy with similar to last year, it was a great sale last year," he said.
"We were conscious of where it may get to so put in an extra 20 bulls to provide a price point for everyone and I guess there were still a few bulls there at $8000."
Nutrien SA stud stock manager and auctioneer Gordon Wood described it as an "amazing sale".
"We knew the cattle were good and we know the buyers like them and they keep coming back for them but I don't think anyone really thought we would be pushing towards a $20,000 average and get within a few hundred dollars of it," he said.
"It is no fluke, these guys have been doing it for a long time and people are appreciating those grassfed bulls that are ready to go out and work."
Mr Wood said the consistent strong prices were a reflection of the evenness of the offering and the big volume order from Benara.
It is no fluke, these guys have been doing it for a long time and people are appreciating those grassfed bulls that are ready to go out and work.- GORDON WOOD
Fellow auctioneer Richard Miller said commercial buyers had lifted their budgets on the strength of recent weaner sales and improved seasonal conditions.
"It didn't take much of a steer this year to make $2000," he said.
"The old saying is the value of eight to 10 steers gives you your bull budget and while not everyone subscribes to that if you work out 10 steers at $2000 that is where we were today for an average."
Mr DiGiorgio said they would consider increasing these numbers again for 2023 to ensure buyers didn't miss out.
"Next year's run of bulls are absolutley outstanding and there is a lot to pick from," he said.
Nutrien were sole selling agents.
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