THE first ever on-farm dairy sale in Australia for the Zanders family resulted in an astonishing $80,000 top yesterday.
The auction, held at their Kialla farm in Victoria, saw 52 lots from their Cairnhill Holstein stud go under the hammer for an average of $5835.
But it was the six year-old cow, Cairnhill Morsan Presence-ET, Ex-90-1E, which garnered the most attention to nab the substantial price tag.
The 11,000 litre animal, which was the 2013 International Dairy Week reserve grand champion cow, was snapped up a New Zealand syndicate.
She had been sired by Braedale Goldwyn, while her dam was the IDW champion Dryfield Dundee Paradise.
And while the extraordinary bid surprised some in the crowd, it did not shock stud principal Trevor and Rosalie Zanders.
“She is one of the best cows I have,” Mr Zanders.
“And she has an incredible pedigree.”
The family used to hold regular on-farm sales in New Zealand, before moving to Australia 11 years ago.
The Cairnhill cows have built up an impeccable reputation in the show ring, which helped to sustain the high bidding at last week’s sale.
Prior to being sold, Dairy Livestock Services’ auctioneer Brian Leslie said Cairnhill Morsan Presence-ET was one of the best cows to be sold in Australia.
So why did Mr Zanders let her go?
“I wanted to create some interest in the sale,” he said.
“And I wanted to test the market; it’s been a very difficult time for the industry recently.”
The decision paid off, with the NZ syndicate willing to big bucks for top genetics.
Mr Zanders said the animal would remain on his property, adding the group were not farmers and made the purchase as a business investment.
The return on the purchase would come from the cow’s offspring and genetics.
“People are willing to pay for pedigree, for genetics,” Mr Zanders said.
“This cow comes from a top family that has really dominated the show scene in Australia.”
The second-highest price at $17,100 was paid by Darren Crawford, Invergordon, in partnership with his brother Andrew Crawford, Nowra, NSW.
The pair purchased the five year-old IDW champion cow Cairnhill Damian Leader, VG88.
“She has a good show record, and we thought she was just a nice cow,” Darren said, who milks 280 registered cows, under the prefix Horizon.
Darren is no stranger to investing big money in cows.
He paid $90,000 for another one of the Zanders’ cows, Carisma Cairnhill Paradise, in a private sale at IDW earlier this year.
It is believed to be an Australasian record for an in-milk dairy cow.
His brother Andrew, who milks 900 cows, bought an additional two lots at the sale for $2000 and $2200, as well as semen for $700.