Te Mania Angus set an autumn bull sale high of $110,000 during a total clearance at its annual on-property autumn bull sale earlier this month.
And once again the ‘science of genetics’ ruled, with 60 of the 160 bulls offered and sold knocked down to AuctionsPlus to a high of $40,000 and gross of $796,000. AuctionsPlus bidders also competed on 142 of the lots offered, putting a genuine floor in the sale.
Lot 49, the top-priced Te Mania Saville, went to a four-member syndicate – Clunie Range Angus, Coolatai, NSW; Mandayen Angus, Keith, SA; Bongongo Angus, Coolac, NSW; and Buringal Grazing Company, Nundle, NSW.
Only the Schmitt family from Buringal has actually seen the bull – the rest relied on the young sire’s figures and videos to make up their minds about the investment.
Mark Schmitt says his family runs 1500 Angus and Shorthorn breeders using a lot of fixed time AI.
He says their partnership in the syndicate, and interest in Te Mania Saville in particular, is part of their fast-track determination to boost the genetic profile of their commercial herd.
“We are looking for the elite of the industry and we are pretty confident that’s what we got today, we wanted marbling and he has plenty and we’re very big on phenotype and we think he will bring that too.”
With an IMF of +6.3 and EMA of +13.1, Lot 49 was out of a two-year-old heifer and is just as suitable for use over heifers himself.
Te Mania Angus director Tom Gubbins agreed no-one expected to see a repeat of 2022, when the average hit $18,437, and across the board was delighted with the whole outcome and average of $15,075.
He says to achieve a total clearance in an increasingly tough market had to be seen “as an achievement in itself”.
“It was a catalogue packed with marbling, as I said at the start of the sale, my late father Andrew Gubbins made the decision almost 50 years ago that marbling would be what would set a serious beef cattle genetics business apart and that was the path he steered us down,” Tom says.
“We, and the wider industry, owe him a lot of thanks for that vision and it has been proved here again today – I remember going to Iowa State University with my wife Lucy in 1992 and discussing the evolution of objective measurement, of figures and, most importantly, of the scans on those videos of the marbling in our cattle way back then,” he says.
“Marbling and the power of data in this industry have not been an overnight success, they have been a slow burn, but they are here now and everyone is having to sit up and take notice.”
While science did rule, there was still plenty of action in the sale complex at the stud’s Mortlake headquarters.
Volume buyer on the day was long-time Queensland client Morella Agriculture, with the Goondiwindi-based enterprise, operating through Gerard Ryan of Brian Unthank Rural, putting together a line of 11 bulls to a high of $18,000 (three times), gross of $154,000 and average of $14,000.
Gerard says Morella owners, the Coulton family, is definitely chasing marbling, but they also wanted a good spread across the commercial traits, dominant breed average figures and, “absolutely” outstanding calving ease.
Max Manefield, from Ardenside Angus, another long-time shopper at Te Mania Angus, might have been the losing bidder on the $40,000 Lot 3 bull Te Mania Sovereign, but he still took home three bulls to a high of $22,000 and average of $18,667.
He says his selection starts with structural soundness, and once that is established, he is strictly a numbers man – especially marbling, low birthweight and outstanding growth figures.
Running 2300 breeders at his Tooma, NSW, property, Max says he is turning off as many as 1000 steer calves annually and in his current drop marked 900 calves of each sex.
Tom says although the industry-wide hunt for IMF dominates, it is still crucial it is paired to a bull with good figures in all traits and the structure to physically get the job done.
“That is one of the reasons every lot in our sale catalogues has been put through an independent and rigorous structural assessment – big and glossy is just window dressing,” he added.
“The real value of a bull, its value as your investment, is knowing its figures and knowing what it can add to your business – that’s not a visual assessment, that’s science.”