Sale lessons learned

The Western Star - - RURAL WEEKLY - ME­GAN MAS­TERS me­gan.mas­ters@thechron­i­cle.com.au

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.”

PHOTO: NICK IN­MON

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.

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