Charity steer sets $11,000 record
A 586kg Red Angus from Albany fetched a record price in the annual Black Dog Charity Steer auction at Perth Royal Show, netting $11,000 for a good cause.
It was an emotional moment for everyone watching the auction as the Forrest family’s Harvey Beef livestock general manager Kim McDougall placed the winning bid.
The 18-month-old steer, named Winston the 11th, was donated by Kildarra Red Angus stud owners Trevlyn and Graeme Smith and prepared by Copplestone Charolais stud owners Peter and Judy Milton.
For the past nine years the Miltons have auctioned a donated steer at Perth Royal Show to raise funds for Black Dog Ride.
The second-highest price was raised in 2014, when Harvey Beef paid $10,250 for an Angus steer.
Mr McDougall said Harvey Beef was proud to support an initiative that aimed to boost awareness of mental illness.
This subject matter is quite personal to many people, it impacts a lot of people, and these guys are doing something very positive,
“If we can make a small contribution to helping the greater cause then what better thing could we do?”
Mrs Milton said it was “just amazing” to net a record price.
“I think there is a lot of feeling here, in the cattle lanes and in the industry, for this cause ... there are many people out there hurting,” she said.
“The more money and the more awareness we can raise, the better.”
Mrs Smith said the family had waited three years to donate a steer, after first helping the Miltons’ organise their first charity auction at the Perth Royal Show in 2011.
The Hereford and Hereford cross, Winston I and Winston II, fetched a collective price of $8050 and marked the start of the farmers’ journey raising thousands for Black Dog Ride.
“Mental health is such a big thing, and we just want people to know that it is OK to talk about it,” Mrs Smith said. “Especially at Sean’s age, we want he and his friends to know it is OK to talk.”
Sean, 11, hand-picked the charity steer, saying he wanted to “give one of the best steers” the farm produced.
Monday’s charity auction was only the second cattle auction he had ever been to. “When we brought them into the pen to draft them out, I saw Winston,” Sean said.
“I thought he had a nice smooth shoulder, long neck, wide muzzle and a wide barrel and he is structurally correct, so that made him a good steer to donate.”
The charity steer was one of 81 steers and heifers which went under the hammer during the annual Perth Royal Show Led Steers and Heifers Auction.
All 81 led steers or heifers sold for an average $2070, $237 a head up on last year.
This year’s sale grossed $167,700, compared with the 2018 event, which grossed $139,308.
With top-priced animals aiding in the total gross income of the sale, prices through all categories were up on last year.
Harvey Beef did not stop its bidding at the Black Dog Ride charity steer, with the company securing a total of 12 steers and heifers for an average price of $2700 and a total of $32,500.
Netting the second-highest price was an Angus steer, which was judged top of the heavyweight class before being sashed grand champion during the led cattle on Saturday.
With the confident Landmark South West auctioneer Matt Watts at the podium, there was no hesitation to bid on the steer and it was Mr McDougall, on behalf of Harvey Beef, who secured the $9000 second top-price of the day.
The Angus was prepared by Royal Agricultural Society of WA councillor and Landmark national livestock manager Leon Giglia, who said it was grain-fed for 110 days.
“We buy-in Koojan Hills and Tullibardine Angus heifers and use an AI Angus bull for their first mating for our commercial cattle enterprise,” he said.
“Our grand champion steer was the result of a heifer calf ... he was a standout calf from day one.
“Last season when his fellow paddock mates went off to the weaner sales, I decided to keep him home and see if we could do something with him here at Perth Royal Show.”
On Saturday, during the led steer and heifer judging, Raff Angus stud co-principal and Perth Royal Show cattle judge Andrew Raff said the steer, from the extra heavyweight class, carried the best finish to sash it the grand champion.
“At 14-months, this Angus steer is feed efficient at 614kg, showing good weight for age and finish with structural soundness,” he said.
In opening the sale, Royal Agricultural Society of WA president Paul Carter said the event was the “grand final” of cattle breeding.
“The key to competition is benchmarking and these producers all strive to improve what they do, and this is effectively the grand final,” he said.
All of the led steers and heifers will be processed this week, with carcase results released on Friday.
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