Glorious August sunshine greeted buyers at the Hazeldean's second annual New England bull sale in Tamworth on Wednesday as 74 bulls went under the hammer.
A total of 59 bidders registered for the sale at the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange, while many more followed along online via AuctionsPlus and Stock Live.
All 74 bulls were snapped up at an average of $14,027 and so even was the draft put together by the Bradley and Litchfield families, five bulls topped the sale at $22,000 each.
Auctioneer Scott Cooper, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Gunnedah, did not have to wait long to knock down the the first top seller, as lot one, Hazeldean Q1387, set the benchmark early when knocked down to an AuctionsPlus buyer.
The 23-month-old son of Ardossan Magistrate M101 and out of Hazeldean M275 weighed 756 kilograms, was rated in the top 10 per cent of the breed in gestation length and on the heavy grass index.
Hazeldean Q1380 quickly followed suit when he was bought by Culgai Pty Ltd, Nundle, for $22,000.
The 24-month-old son of Ardossan Magistrate M101 and out of Hazeldean M81 weighed 808kg and was also ranked in the top 10pc on the heavy grass index, as well as for carcase weight and retail beef yield.
Soon after, Hazeldean Q1853 also reached the $22,000 mark when he was purchased by Winterthur Pty Ltd, Quirindi.
The 20-month-old son of EF Complement 8088 and out of Hazeldean J306 weighed 652kg and was rated in the top 5pc of the breed for calving ease daughters, days to calving and for rump fat.
Hazeldean Q798 became the fourth bull to reach the milestone when he was sold to Kotupna Grazing, Armidale.
The 25-month-old was sired by Storth Oaks Jack J7 and from Hazeldean N919, weighed 876kg, was rated in the top 5pc of the breed for 200-,400- and 600-day growth, as well as scrotal size and carcase weight.
Hazeldean Q762 became the fifth and final bull to reach $22,000 when he was knocked down to A and A Stanco Australia, Barraba.
He was a 25-month-old son of Blackrock WMYF3 and out of Hazeldean M576, weighed 862kg, was in the top 5pc of the breed for calving ease direct, gestation length and carcase weight, as well as in the top 10pc for birth weight.
Hazeldean principal Ed Bradley said all five top sellers had "industry-leading" estimated breeding values.
"We breed about 800 bulls at home every year and for those top bulls to stand out of those 800 they have to be right up there," Mr Bradley said.
"We're really lucky to have quite a lot of good commercial buyers support the sale, who obviously see the value in the good bulls and we hope they're happy with them."
As well as buying one of the five top-selling bulls, Kotupna Grazing was also one of the sale's busiest volume buyers taking home six bulls at an average of $17,666, while Cobrabald Pastoral Company, Walcha, took five bulls at an average of $14,000, and MCL Trading, Nowendoc, four bulls at an average of $15,500.
However, the most prolific buyer at Wednesday's sale was Gotha Farms Pty Ltd, Patterson Lakes, Victoria, which purchased 16 bulls at an average of $13,289. All up, 14 bulls were also purchased via AuctionsPlus buyers to average $13,571.
Wednesday's sale was the second in a series of three sales Hazeldean will host this season, the first having been in Queensland.
"Last year we had a neat average of $10,000 at our Tamworth sale and this year we got over $14,000, so it's up roughly 40pc and given we offered 35 more bulls than last year, you can't ask for much more than that," Mr Bradley said.
"We sold 160 bulls in Queensland last week, another 74 today [Wednesday] and we'll offer about 120 at home in Cooma on September 2.
"Hopefully the positive trends we've seen so far this year continue and if anyone has missed out on a bull at either of our two sales so far, there is still a good chance at our next sale at home."
The sale was conducted by Nutrien Ag Solutions, Tamworth, and Nutrien Boultons, Walcha.
Love agricultural news? Sign up for The Land's free daily newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.