Sale lessons learned
IT WAS a tough season for Devon Court Herefords at Drillham, so no big surprises when the averages at this year’s sale went a bit backwards.
It was the first time the stud had held its own on-property bull sale in more than two decades and owner Tom Nixon said it was a big learning curve.
There were strong prices, good buyer attendance and plenty of good-quality bulls on offer, not to mention a bit of a buzz in the air after such a
Even in our own stud we dropped 200 cows just to get us through.
— Tom Nixon
long hiatus from selling on their own property, but extended drought conditions and a few other factors had a dampening effect overall.
Mr Nixon said in hindsight he wasn’t shocked at the depressed prices, especially after dropping his own cow herd by 200 this year due to hand-feeding costs.
“Even in our own stud we dropped 200 cows out of the herd just to get us through until now,” Mr Nixon said.
“We’re a stud that runs a big commercial side, so we do it ourselves and if you don’t have the cows, you can’t buy the bulls.”
Also on the learning curve was deciding which bulls to leave out of the catalogue for next year.
They decided that if the sale was on their own property, there was nothing stopping them from putting up everything they had for sale.
As it turned out, the season was depressed enough there was no way they all could have sold, and that meant the clearance rate took a hit.
The average of $5800 was a good, strong one and better than some other sales this year, but Mr Nixon said when compared to last year’s average of about $9000, the need to be more selective showed.
He said the final big lesson was in cattle condition.
“We’ll be feeding them up a bit more next year, just to keep up with what everyone else is doing,” Mr Nixon said.
“We thought we’d just have them nice and ready to go out in the paddock, which is what people say they want, but it’s not what they buy.”
STRONG RESULT: Devon Court Herefords owner Tom Nixon with buyer Ian Galloway, Cootharaba Herefords, with the top-priced bull at this year’s sale, which went for $13,000.