With a new judging format in place, for the first time in history at the Herefords Australia National Show and Sale, Wodonga, horned and polled bulls will be judged together.
Andrew Donoghue, event coordinator, Herefords Australia, said things are looking positive for another successful event, with 48 vendors submitting 189 entries.
“It marks a special occasion because of the combined poll and horn judging for the first time,” Mr Donoghue said.
Entries span from central Queensland, Keith in South Australia and as far as Tasmania.
Mr Donoghue said coming off the strength of the southern weaner sales in January and March and the southern bull sales in February, he anticipates a strong commercial base in the market.
“Obviously the commercial base is what makes that sale a successful one, there will be stud sires sold for stud prices, but we also need that commercial base to put the floor in the market,” he said.
He believes the whiteface presence in southern Australia remains strong.
“It is very strong in the high country in Victoria and we saw that in the mountain calf sales last month,” he said.
“We had some of the better average prices per head compared to other breeds, sometimes ahead by $200.”
One whiteface breeder who sees Wodonga as platform for exposure is third generation Hereford producer, Robert Hain, Gunyah Herefords, Cooma.
Gunyah, which was established in 1958 by Mr Hain’s grandfather, has been one of the longest standing exhibitors at the event, participating since it’s inception back in 1965.
Looking back at records, Gunyah held the average record price in the 1970s.
“It’s a means of building clientele, you take a selection to Wodonga and clients get to view them without the travel,” Mr Hain said.
At Gunyah Mr Hain runs 300 registered stud cows with another 100 head of commercial head. These are run alongside a 2000 head self-replacing Merino flock on a little over 2000 hectares.
Stud cows are run on basalt country, with the property situated 18 kilometres south west of Cooma.
The annual average rainfall is 18.5 inches and it sits at 950 metres above mean sea level (MAMSL).
He has two main calvings, first in February/March and the second in July/August. Mr Hain introduced the two calvings from one which took place in October/November.
The objective at Gunyah is to breed a moderate frame, easy doing, functional type of bull.
“For this area it is not worth having the bigger framed bulls, they just can’t handle the weather. At the end of the day you have to have what suits the area,” he said.
“This suits a lot of Victoria as well. Big framed cattle are more suited to the north and west.
“As soon as you get into the hills, or as soon as it gets a bit tough they cant handle it.”
Mr Hain said any bull he offers for sale is ready to so straight to work.
Six of the seven bulls heading to Wodonga from Gunyah are June/July 2016-drop and included are two sons by Tycolah Jovial F77, the 2012 Sydney Royal Urquhart Trophy winner and Dubbo National grand champion that was knocked down to a three-man syndicate including Mr Hain for $80,000 at Dubbo National Poll Hereford Show and Sale.
In Mr Hains’ eyes, the Hereford breed has stood the test of time because they have always had the weight for age advantage.
“They are well suited to this country and climate here, but as far as growing things out you will always be in front with a Hereford,” he said.
“The grass-fed trend has really started to take off as far as killable cattle go with accreditation schemes.
“I think the more of that that comes along the Hereford breed should be in the box seat.”
The 52nd Herefords Australia National Show and Sale will be held at Wodonga Exhibition Centre on Wednesday and Thursday May 10 and 11.
Integrated Hereford and Poll Hereford judging begins on Wednesday morning at 10am. Judging duties will be carried out by Steve Crowley, Tycolah Poll Herefords, Cobbadah. There will be 78 horned Hereford bulls and 111 Polled Hereford bulls.
The sale kicks off on the Thursday at 9am.