The general manager of the Yulgilbar Santa Gertrudis Stud at Baryulgil in northern New South Wales, says the Queensland border closure severely affected its annual production sale.
- A stud manager say the border closure costs Yulgilbar Santa Gertrudis Stud up to $400,000
- The Sinnamon family paid a top price of $40,000 for Yulgilbar Queen Council at the annual sale
- A 17-year-old cattle woman successfully bid $9,000 for top-priced female
While it achieved both a record bull average of $10,078 for 89 bulls and a gross of $954,971, Rob Sinnamon believed that given the current strength of the cattle market, the sale should have surpassed $1 million.
“We do believe it probably cost us $300,000 to $400,000 in gross compared to what we could’ve achieved in a COVID-free environment with free restrictions and movements,” he said.
“I think testament will be in the coming days and weeks as the Queensland sale season for Santa Gertrudis rolls out, I think comparable bulls will probably sell for $3,000 to $5,000 more.
“Obviously when they can’t see the bulls, aren’t here physically, making that final decision on whether they bid another bid or not, or problematic, when they’re 1,000 kilometres away.”
An exemption under the NSW Public Health Order allows for on-property sales and regional buyers to attend during the state-wide lockdown, but numbers in the sale barn were under 100 with no Queenslander in sight.
It was a far cry from previous years, when Yulgilbar Pastoral Company —owned by Sarah and Baillieu Myer – hired two planes to fly clients from Queensland to Baryulgil to attend, and up to 600 people packed the sale barn as the stud cattle were paraded in front of the stands.
But this year, border restrictions forced Yulgilbar’s valued northern clients to bid via phone or two online auction platforms — Elite Livestock Auctions and AuctionsPlus — operating but there were connectivity issues.
“I guess that’s the story of our life. Here we’re always screaming out for better connectivity and mobile service, and we did have some issues with that during the sale,” he said.
“Our support was still very strong from our northern clients from Julia Creek to Clermont, those people have had our genetics for a number of years and supported us.
“So, whilst it was our loss today it was certainly a gain for our valued clients who bought value for money.”
Boss pays top price of $40,000
The Sinnamon family paid the top price of the day for Lot 1 Yulgilbar Queen Council for its family operation Riverina Santa Gertrudis Stud near Kyogle.
“I guess having steered the breeding program here for 20 years at Yulgilbar, it makes sense that the bulls I like are here in the herd,” Rob Sinnamon said.
“I believe the bull we paid $40,000 over the course of the next month or so will come to fruition be considered a bargain buy.”
“We’re delighted to buy the bull. We believe he’ll fit our breeding program very, very well and nice to have him in our stable.”
Young cattlewoman pays $9,000 for female
Nine females sold to a top of $9,000 and an average of $6444, both down on the top of $12,000 and an average of $7,450 in 2020.
Seventeen-year-old Georgia Perkins, from Corndale north of Lismore, paid the top price for lot 101, Yulgilbar K059.
“I had a few females picked out, but she just really caught my eye. The more I looked at her the more I liked her, and I really admire the heifer calf she has on her,” she said.
“I’m pretty excited, just starting and buying a few females to start a stud hopefully.
“I’ve picked out a few Santa females from another few studs but whether I end up with them or not is another story.”
While in her final year of high school, the teenager took the day off studying to make the four-hour return trip to the renowned sale.
“I just want to get back to school, graduate. It’s just been really tough, trying to finish your HSC online is pretty difficult.”
Ms Perkins has applied to study agriculture and business at university but said she would likely defer to gain more experience in the industry.
Queenslander forced to buy bulls online
Rod Apelt from Collingwood Pastoral Company near Tara in the Western Downs of Queensland usually makes the trip across the border to Yulgilbar for the sale every September.
“It was simply the COVID restrictions coming back to Queensland and this stage haven’t had one of the jabs, so it just wasn’t worthwhile, so we used the AuctionsPlus platform,” he said.
“I’ve been going there for a few years now and do like to cast your eye over the bulls before you purchase, it’s the first time we’ve bought them online, but much prefer to be there in person for sure.”
The Queensland repeat buyer, who runs an Angus Santa Gertrudis commercial herd, picked up four bulls, and his son purchased one, ranging from $9,000 to $15,000.
“We’re a commercial enterprise. We’re not in the stud game so for commercial bulls I thought the way the market is it wasn’t a bargain, but it was reasonable,” he said.
“They have a great cross-section in the Santa Gertrudis breed, they source their sires from a number of different Santa Gertrudis studs across Queensland New South Wales and they seem to have performed well for us.”
Plenty of jobs waiting for new bulls
Repeat buyer Georgie Lawrence picked up three bulls for around the average price for the family’s beef operation further south in the Macleay Valley.
“They do the job for us down on the Macleay Valley producing mostly trade cattle through to heavier steers.
“They’ll go back to the Macleay and head out into the paddocks and there are a few heifers to join and cows as well.”