Parking spread into an extra paddock at the Eastern Plains Angus bull sale near Guyra on Wednesday where heifer and calving ease bulls were in hot demand.
Andrew and Sally White and family sold 63 of 68 bulls at the conclusion of the sale to average $7777 and top at $14,000.
Heifer bulls brought a premium and those that came with added strong growth figures required an even bigger cheque book.
It was clear to see Mr White was battling some pre-sale nerves but the stud's hard work in recent drought was rewarded.
"We have gone from our worst ever year last year to one of our best years ever this year," he said.
"That's the difference of a pretty dramatic change in the environment.
"We are trying to breed cattle that can cope with those conditions and not have to maintain them too much."
The bulls were given a short maintenance ration during the prime of the drought last year but in stages of the feeding still managed to average 2.5kg/day of compensatory growth, Mr White said.
"We don't do our cattle any favours," he said.
A two-year-old son of Booroomooka Bartel K274 out of Eastern Plains Abba D132 made the top money when he was secured by Tracey and Joanne Gowen, Gowen Family Estates, of Barrakee at Uralla.
Eastern Plains Paradise P28 was used as a yearling bull over stud heifers and was a calving ease bull coupled with high growth estimated breeding values.
They also secured Eastern Plains Paspaley P196 for $10,000, another bull positive for calving ease traits.
The pair featured in ACM's 100 Stories of Hope publication last year for their resilient attitude and commitment to feed their commercial Angus female herd for optimum production.
At the time they had a threatening water shortage from back-to-back dry seasons but Tracey Gowen said things had turned around.
They had restocked some of their female base and were in the process of rebuilding. The temperament and figures of the bulls impressed them.
"We were after heifer and cow bulls and we found one that can do both and the other is for heifers," she said.
"We are really impressed by the whole line of bulls and figures here."
Bulk buyer with six bulls was AM McGregor and Son, Myall Creek Station, Delungra, who averaged $9333.
Byron Pastoral Co, Byron Siding, Inverell, were successful with three bulls averaging $4333, as were Morella Agriculture, Boggabri, averaging $8666 and Alderberry Pastoral Co, Guyra, averaging $5666. Jeogla Pastoral Co, Armidale, also bought a trio averaging $9666.
Narrabri buyers HMA secured four bulls featuring fertile and growth trait leaders which averaged $4000.
Ian McDuie of RuralCom Marketing has been working with the Eastern Plains herd for more than 20 years and was pleased to see such great results for his clients.
While the recent strength in the bull market was unexpected given herd reductions, he said many people forgot that producers had held on to their core heifers and sold their old bulls for strong kill money.
This meant many were in the market for calving ease sires and consequently heifer bull demand.
The sale was conducted by Elders with Paul Dooley as auctioneer.
Read the full report in The Land next week.