A virtual sale of Dairy's Finest Jersey cows has set a new Australian record average price and a new top price for an Australian-bred heifer.
All 26 lots were cleared at the May 23 Jersey Australia sale, with an average price of $8178 and top of $20,000 achieved.
Jersey Australia chairman Chris MacKenzie described the result as exceptional and said that it reflected confidence in the industry and demand for Jersey cows.
The sale at Kings Ville Jerseys in Drouin West, Vic marked the start of Jersey Australia's annual four-day conference.
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The live auction was conducted by Brian Leslie of Dairy Livestock Services and online by Elite Livestock Auctions.
The cows weren't on site but were presented in photos, a concept that Mr MacKenzie said worked very well.
"Interest was very strong and the range of buyers was very impressive," he said. "We had top animals and a top sale, and we got a top price, and it augers very well for the industry."
Mr MacKenzie said he expected the virtual sale concept to be used in the future. "It means vendors don't have to go to the trouble and cost of transporting and preparing their lots, but buyers still have access to all the relevant information and photos."
Mr Leslie said he believed the $8178 average was a new Australian record for Jerseys.
"I thought it was the best catalogue we've put together. The industry is in good shape and the Jersey breed is rolling along very well, but it still exceeded all expectations," he said.
"The top price of $20,000 was very high but there was strong demand all the way through for a total clearance."
The conference is being organised by the Central Gippsland Club and president Reece Attenborough said the sale produced an amazing result.
"We have to thank all the vendors for putting their best lots forward," he added.
The top price of $20,000 was achieved by Brookbora PGRS Chrome Love Lies sold by Rob, Sandra and Daniel Bacon of Brookbora Jerseys, Parrabel Genetics, Rockstar Cows and Aspire Jerseys.
"We didn't have any expectations but we're ecstatic with that price," Daniel Bacon said.
"The overall sale was good for the breed and it was good to see a few Holstein breeders getting into the market."
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The top price cow was bought by Declan Patten on behalf of Melbourne-based thoroughbred breeders looking to move into dairy cattle.
"She's the highest-priced Australian-bred Jersey heifer of all time which gives an indication of her quality," he said.
"She ticks a lot of boxes and she will be a great investment. The investors see there are great opportunities in agriculture and Jerseys are at the forefront of that in the dairy industry."
Second top price of $13,500 was achieved by Araluen Park and Stonyrun Jerseys with a pick of the herd offer.
Vendors Trevor Saunders and Anthea Day said they were pleased with the result. "We're incredibly happy with the result," Mr Saunders said. "It was a bit of a gamble to do it this way, but we would have been happy with anything over $10,000."
"Overall, the sale was amazing."
The conference will finish on Thursday at the Mercure Warragul with the Jersey Australia annual general meeting.
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