Angus records fall
Stud’s dream sale run
IT FEELS like you are watching an Adam Gilchrist highlights reel.
That’s how Millah Murrah Angus owner Ross Thompson jokingly likened the feeling to watching five of his bulls break the angus record for 2018 during his on-property sale.
Despite coming off the back of a great sale season last year, Mr Thompson said this year’s harsher market conditions meant he had set modest predictions for his annual bull sale.
However, during the auction a bidding war for sale topper Millah Murrah Nugget N266, resulted in the Australian record price for a yearling bull of any breed to be broken at $54,000.
“That was a feeling I wish everyone could experience,” Mr Thompson said.
“I was nervous at the start of the sale. But I knew our big-hitting bulls would be coming in later.
“Despite where the prices ended up, the auctioneer had to work hard early on. We had 30 good-quality bulls sell for between $8,000 and $10,000. So the sale was more accessible than it perhaps looks.”
The sale averaged $15,850, which was the second highest in angus history. It was a price only beaten by Millah Murrah’s 2016 sale at $16,348.
Mr Thompson was truly chuffed with the results and he wasn’t ashamed for his family to relish in their success. He was quick to note good times like these could be once in a lifetime.
“The last 364 days feels like we have been living a highlight reel,” he said. “It’s been exceptional.” To make things even sweeter, the NSW stud situated near Bathurst received an inch of rain on sale night, marking a solid start to Spring.
Millah Murrah Angus made headlines in October last year when Millah Murrah Prue M4 sold for $190,000 – breaking the all-time Australian record for a beef female.
Mr Thompson had tagged Millah Murrah Nugget as a bull that would do well this year, based on pre-sale interest, but was quietly hoping for around $30,000.
There was a strong showing of Queensland buyers at this year’s sale – and it’s interesting to note that Nugget has a Queensland flavour.
His sire is Ascot Hallmark H147, a bull owned by Jim and Jackie Wedge of Ascot Cattle Co near Warwick.
The two studs have a long-running professional relationship.
“It started in 2012 when Jim bought PTIC heifers from me,” Mr Thompson said.
“One of those heifers, Millah Murrah Brenda F123, was in calf with Hallmark.”
Jim Wedge said Millah Murrah genetics made up a large portion of their stud.
Hallmark is now six years old and has been a cornerstone bull for them.
Mr Wedge cemented his fondness of Millah Murrah cattle again this year by buying the highest selling two-year old, Millah Murrah Klooney M176, for $46,000 at the sale.
He said it was particularly rewarding to see Hallmark’s progeny perform well.
“We had just bought our new bull, which was a big thrill, then the Hallmark bull came in. It was pretty special for myself and Jackie,” he said.
With eyes on his own stud sale, to be held on September 21, Mr Wedge noted that Hallmark would have three full-bred brothers and 15 sons up for sale.
It’s about a 20-hour round trip from Warwick to Bathurst, but Mr Wedge said the stud’s strong-quality traits drew them back year after year.
“They have strong maternal values, which we like. If you have tremendous females you will breed tremendous bulls,” he said.
Now the dust has settled
from the Millah Murrah sale and there is a green tint to their paddocks, Mr Thompson said his family would this year enjoy a holiday.
All family members, including wife Dimity and three daughters Millie, Olivia and Twiggy, play a role on the property.
Dimity is a chef by trade and thoroughly enjoys playing host to guests during auctions.
The girls, who are all yet to start high school, help out from time to time (there is never any pressure from dad) and always look forward to sale day.
Next year will mark a 50-year anniversary for Millah Murrah Angus, which was founded in 1969. But Mr Thompson shrugged off this would-be milestone. He said their focus would be where it had always been: producing the right type of angus.
“First and foremost I want the cattle to look right,” he said.
“I want them to weigh heavy and I want them to be beautifully muscled and structured.
“Our demand has been driven because we are producing a special type of angus– they are heavy, three-dimensional and full of capacity and meat.”
BUYERS: Robert and Stephen Gill with Ross Thompson, auctioneer Paul Dooley and Elders' Andrew Bickford after the sale of Millah Murrah Nugget. PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED
Thompson with Warwick LOOKING BACK: Ross after their stud Ascot breeders Jackie and Jim Wedge bulls from Millah Murrah Cattle Co secured heifers andAngus in 2012.
Millah Murrah Nugget N266 sold for $54,000, setting a new Australian record price for a yearling bull of any breed.