Alumy Creek Angus stud principals Lisa Martin and Colin Keevers were given a healing reward for the pain of two years of drought and fire when all 38 of their bulls cleared for a $7789 average near Tenterfield on Friday.
The first 10 bulls alone averaged $9100, which included the $15,000 sale high, and set the pace for an overall result that was a far cry from their 2019 auction when 28 of 47 bulls sold for a 59 per cent clearance and $5460 average.
Buyer confidence from the seasonal change and strong cattle prices was clear to see in what was one of the first northern bull sales to be held under the COVID-19 restrictions.
A total of 41 bid cards were registered on the day to buyers from Queensland, NSW and Victoria with 25 bidders registered online through AuctionsPlus at the commencement of the sale.
Alumy Creek's Lisa Martin and Colin Keevers were grateful for the support with many attendees impressed by the evenness of their draft.
The remnants of scorched timber hills hovering over the sale ring was a reminder of the barriers the bulls had overcome to make auction day.
"We always really aim to have curve bender type cattle....and generally 75 per cent of that draft were low birth weight, calving ease bulls with very good growth and carcase and I think that combination a lot of people are looking for this season," Ms Martin said.
"They are joining heifers earlier. They kept their heifers, they have got to get a dollar out of them and they are looking for the bulls that can do that but give them flexibility of a product.
"That's a great way to top off a pretty torrid two years. I think it is just that the industry is a lot more opportunistic. You listen to Simon Quilty's (meat analyst) outlook last week and that's promising, the seasonal forecast is that we may have a bit more of a wet winter and these guys are saying well we can finally make a buck."
It was Alumy Creek Opportunity P097 lauded by Elders auctioneer Brian Kennedy as the best phenotype sire in the catalogue that attracted the $15,000 top price and was knocked down to first time buyers Michael and Jessica Smith, Adrigoole Angus, Woodenbong.
The 21-month-old was a son of Canadian bull Freys Opportunity 148A, who only has 43 progeny in Australia of which 30 are at Alumy Creek, and out of Alumy Creek Trilogy H85. He weighed 915 kilograms just before sale day with rump and rib fats of 10 and 7mm, an eye muscle area of 100 square centimetres and intramuscular fat of 6.2.
His estimated breeding values sat in the top one per cent for all growth traits, carcase weight, retail beef yield and feed efficiency.
The Smiths currently run about 300 Angus breeders turning off eight to 10-month-old weaners from 300 kilograms upwards to the George and Fuhrmann annual blue ribbbon weaner sale in Stanthorpe.
"The George and Fuhrmann boys had said they were a good draft of bulls and George and Fuhrmann do all of our business so I just came up to have a look," Mr Smith said.
"The low birth weight bulls were important for some heifer bulls and the milk traits."
The bull was one of three they secured averaging $13,166.
Victorians were also among the crowd that spilled out of the seating shed with first time attendees Eddie and Sarah Murnane, Baringa Park Angus, Birregurra, travelling 1600 kilometres for the sale.
After weeks of reading EBVs and looking at videos and 17 hours of driving the suspense was all over in a few minutes when they secured the first bull of the day, Alumy Creek Compass P102, for $12,000.
Running about 45 Angus cows and breeding commercial entry bulls, they were seeking a point of difference in their genetic base and found it in the son of Baldridge Compass C041 out of Alumy Creek Doris M001 with curve bending balanced EBVs.
"Our whole area is full of Te Mania and Banquet (genetics) so for our market now we are trying to get new bloodlines that aren't around so farmers can say they aren't related at all," Mr Murnane said.
"There was five bulls that we picked a couple of traits in that we are trying to fix up in our cattle (deep bodied, good rumps).
"We more look on structure than EBVs but because we sell to commercial farmers ourselves we have got to pay attention to EBVs."
Volume buyer was repeat client Matt Tennyson, Tigrigie Cattle Co, Taroom, Qld, who secured eight bulls averaging $6812.
AuctionsPlus secured seven bulls from the draft and bound for Elong Elong, Cowra, Dundee and Southgate.
The sale was conducted by Queensland's George and Fuhrmann and Elders Glen Innes with Brain Kennedy (Elders) and Darren Perkins (George and Fuhrmann) taking up the auctioneering.
Read the full report in The Land next week.