The Halliday family were left overwhelmed and in tears after an eight-year-old Ben Nevis female set a new mature cow breed record of $82,000 at Walcha on Tuesday.
In what was a highly anticipated rare offload of F to L cows including donor females, reputable studs and even new breeders helped clear 95 of 105 lots to average $9263
A long bidding war ensued between on-property and digital bidders when Ben Nevis Jean H215 entered the ring and was eventually knocked down for $82,000 to Bannaby Angus, Taralga, along with Banquet Angus, Mortlake, Victoria.
It eclipsed the previous mature cow record set by Texas Angus earlier this month of $60,000.
Both Erica and Stu Halliday were in tears as the family favourite was recognised for what Ms Halliday described as unique genetics and different type to where the breed was heading.
"She just worked so hard for us and she owes us absolutely nothing," Ms Halliday said.
Bannaby was no stranger to the prolific bull breeder who mothered their $24,000 sire Ben Nevis Newsflash and also produced an additional stud sire, Ben Nevis Primus P57, who is at work at Merit Farms.
Merit Farms were among the losing bidders on the prized female and wouldn't have outlasted the Bannaby team who were determined to stop at nothing.
Stud principal Keith Kerridge said once Jean H215 had calved to Ben Nevis Monarch in February next year she would join their donor program which will see up to 400 embryos implanted this year alone.
"We have been very interested in that Jean family and this was a great opportunity to get one of the premier cows in Australia," he said.
"I just take the view that you have got to take these opportunities as they come along. It was a very unusual opportunity and I'm sure they wouldn't have sold her unless they had this mature cow dispersal."
Merit Farms put their funds towards buying her six-year-old daughter and the dam of the $32,000 Ben Nevis Metamorphic, Ben Nevis Jean K80, for $38,000. She was tested in calf to record-breaking Angus bull, Millah Murrah Paratrooper, to calve in March.
B and M Duncan, Boambee Angus, Seaham, paid to $28,000 for Ben Nevis Floryx L72, an Ayrvale Bartel E7 daughter with top 10 per cent selection index values, and her Ben Nevis Newsflash bull calf. She was one of six that averaged $12,833.
Brett Thomson, Dungog, outlaid $26,000 for Ben Nevis Jean H103, a prolific daughter of RAFF Empire E269 who boasted multiple sale sons and daughters along with high growth and feed efficiency figures. She was in calf to Ben Nevis Monarch due in March next year.
He also secured Ben Nevis Geranium J145 for $9000 and Ben Nevis Wilcoola G4 for $9000.
In the autumn cows it was Ben Nevis Geranium K18 who soared to $22,000 thanks to a bid from Coolie Angus, Merriwa. The six-year-old cow had selection indexes in the top five to seven per cent and was in calf to Millah Murrah Paratrooper.
An online Queensland buyer paid $24,000 for Ben Nevis Kiwi K17 who had potential donor written all over her.
Interestingly Ben Nevis Dormist H26, the mother of Ben Nevis Quantico who sold for $40,000 at this year's sale went without a bid but later sold to Bannaby Angus for an undisclosed amount.
Not everyone was seasoned stud buyers though with former dairy farmer Paul Barnett, Branston, Taree, securing six females to establish his stud Angus herd.
Mr Barnett opted to sell his 260 head milking herd in December last year and turned to a quieter workload with Angus cattle.
Having previously run a Holstein stud, the six females averaging $5666 will join three Knowla Angus heifers.
He intends to use embryo technology to breed quality over quantity and secured higher index females.
"My kids are pursuing off farm interests and it was time to ease up on the workload," he said.
"The value of the progeny made me go towards Angus. I thought while I am still young I should have another interest."
Also securing six females was S and E Ulrick, Springfield, Guyra including the $12,000 show heifer Ben Nevis Jean L56.
Buyers from as far as Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania operated throughout the day.
While there was only 46 registered bidders in attendance on the day AuctionsPlus helped account for at least 29 lots.
Ms Halliday was overwhelmed with the support from such reputable studs and breeders.
It is hoped the female sale will become a regular event every three years and help lift the stud's profile in the industry.
"Even though we are one of Australia's oldest studs, Dad sold every year through the paddock so we only had our first on property auction in 2013," she said.
"I've had a few people say to me, 'Oh but you sell little bulls'. We don't, we sell yearling bulls, but they have come and seen these cows and gone, 'Oh they are big cows'. So it was a bit of an education in that respect and it was a way to increase our profile.
"There were some people that bought really well in the sale. People were starting to do what we do and follow bloodlines through and it was a chance for them to tap right in to where we are in our program."
Many of the females had lived through drought and bushfire and just 12 months ago were in confinement feeding.
"It is just a testament to how hard we worked, how hard we hung on and how much we believed in them," Ms Halliday said.
The sale was conducted by Nutrien Boulton's Walcha with Paul Dooley as auctioneer.
Read the full report in The Land this week.