Cranbrook farmer pays $82,000 for Bandeeka Simmental

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
With the $82,000 record top-priced bull, Bandeeka Rusty R035, was Nutrien Livestock auctioneer Michael Alltus, Nutrien Livestock Kojonup agent Troy Hornby, Nutrien Livestock WA manager Leon Giglia, Nutrien Livestock Capel agent Chris Waddingham, Bandeeka Simmental stud co-principals Loreen and Tony Kitchen, of Elgin, farm hand Geoff Pope and buyer Tom Marshall, of Cranbrook.
Camera IconWith the $82,000 record top-priced bull, Bandeeka Rusty R035, was Nutrien Livestock auctioneer Michael Alltus, Nutrien Livestock Kojonup agent Troy Hornby, Nutrien Livestock WA manager Leon Giglia, Nutrien Livestock Capel agent Chris Waddingham, Bandeeka Simmental stud co-principals Loreen and Tony Kitchen, of Elgin, farm hand Geoff Pope and buyer Tom Marshall, of Cranbrook. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman

A 90-year-old farmer from Cranbrook has set a new record for the most amount paid for a beef bull in WA after forking out $82,000 for a Simmental, smashing the previous record of $72,000 set just three weeks earlier.

Tom Marshall’s lifelong passion for livestock was on full display when he outbid everyone else at one of WA’s premier multibreed bull sales — the WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association annual Supreme Sale at Brunswick — on March 16.

His winning bid eclipsed WA’s record bull price set on February 22, when a black Angus bred by the Coonamble stud in Bremer Bay was bought by Noel Bairstow of Arizona Farms in Lake Grace for a whopping $72,000.

Mr Marshall said he was prepared to pay for quality when he secured the 20-month-old Simmental bred by Tony and Loreen Kitchen at their Elgin-based Bandeeka Simmental stud.

His commercial farming prowess of producing quality beef and Merino sheep has kept him active at regular sale venues.

“Once you get there (a high level of quality stock), you must keep going,” Mr Marshall said.

The Cranbrook farmer outbid one of Australia’s largest Simmental studs to secure the polled bull, named Bandeeka Rusty R035.

The under-bidder was South Australia-based Woonallee Simmental studmaster Tom Baker — who was also keen on Rusty’s “versatile outlook” as he placed very competitive phone bids through Nutrien Livestock WA manager Leon Giglia.

“It’s wonderful for the breed to know the bull was highly prized by a WA producer,” Mr Baker said.

He said the Simmental breed was celebrating its 50th year in Australia and the record price showed the breed’s success to WA.

The most expensive Simmental bull ever sold in Australia was bred at Woonallee stud, which sold for $160,000 in 2017.

Mr Baker’s appraisal of the Bandeeka sale team by video and photos had him securing his second pick of the stud’s bulls, Bandeeka Raffles R034 for $32,000.

“This bull has tremendous depth, constitution and a sound pedigree and we will put him over females to back up our AI program,” he said.

Mr Marshall, who runs a pure-bred Simmental herd, said he enjoyed working with the Kitchen family and had bought their bulls for the past 25 years.

He bought two other Bandeeka bulls for $35,000 and $22,000.

“Simmentals have structure and body capacity to convert grass into meat,” Mr Marshall said.

He said producers had concerns for the cattle industry as cattle and beef prices swing to high levels in the saleyards.

“Those big fluctuations are difficult for farmers and industry to budget for,” Mr Marshall said.

The Cowcher family of Williams-based Willandra Simmental stud who bred the sire of Rusty, Willandra Kingston, and were under-bidders on one of his sons, were thrilled to witness the WA all-breeds record price broken with a Simmental bull.

Willandra stud co-principal Peter Cowcher said Kingston bred excellent females.

Ms Kitchen, who paraded Rusty in the sale ring at Brunswick, said it was an “absolute thrill” that a long-time client and other buyers had made such an impact on Bandeeka’s “strong sale team”.

“I was raised up on my parent’s Elgin dairy farm and after my grandfather gave each of his grandchildren 50 pounds, my money went towards the purchase of my first Simmental heifer,” she said.

“It was never looking back after that.”

The Kitchen family, who have been regulars on the cattle show scene, have won the Perth Royal Show Governor’s Cup award five times for their cattle.

Ms Kitchen and her team were celebrated at Brunswick for their record topping Simmental bull and the success of their sale team of nine bulls that sold for an average price of $24,278/head.

Ms Kitchen said congratulations continued as Rusty made headlines across the country.

Overall, the multi-breed, multi-vendor sale, conducted by Elders and Nutrien Livestock and interfaced with AuctionsPlus, offered 107 bulls with 95 sold for a sale record average price of $9821, up $1971 on last year when 80 bulls sold for an average price of $7850.

The sale kicked off with an offering of 48 Simmental bulls from four vendors that offered both traditional types and black skinned bulls.

The largest vendor was the Patterson family, of Katanning-based Bullock Hills stud, who offered and sold 24 Simmental bulls to a top of $17,000 and average price of $8188.

Bullock Hills Red Dog (PP) (RED) was secured through AuctionsPlus for $17,000 to a new buyer in Victoria.

The 958kg bull was a first drop son of WS Epic E152 and out of Bullock Hills Clementine M68.

Stud co-principal Brad Patterson said Red Dog was in the top five per cent for growth rates and had width over the top line and good depth.

“All four Epic sons in the sale displayed excellent muscle pattern and sold strongly,” he said.

The Pattersons also offered black Simmental bulls which sold to a top of $13,500, with Bullock Hills Santiago S004 (PP) (ET) selling to MM & MJ Johnston in Boyup Brook.

The 760kg yearling double polled bull was sired by Bullock Hills Nightrider (PP) and out of Woonalee Tanks N304.

Mr Patterson said Santiago was highly ranked in most breed traits including calving, growth and carcase.

“The bull was in the top five per cent for growth and eye muscle area,” he said.

Bullock Hills Stallion S052 (PP), a first son by sire Woonallee Physio (PP), was secured by the Wetherell family, of Bandeeka Blacks stud in Boyanup for $9500.

Bandeeka Blacks co-principal Sarsha Wetherell said the bull provided good structure to work in her family’s Black Simmental stud.

The Wetherell family also offered and sold three bulls to a top of $11,500 for Bandeeka Blacks Nilo R005 that sold to MM & MJ Johnston.

Pinjarra-based Mubarn Simmental stud offered and sold 11 bulls to the equal top of $13,000 and average price of $9091.

Mubarn Roulette (PP) R023 sold for $13,000 to Leigh McLarty, of Blythewood Pastoral in Pinjarra.

“I liked the bull’s muscle pattern, structure and its medium frame to put over Blythewood’s Shorthorn cows,” he said.

It was a great selling day for the Simmental breeders, with 47 bulls from the four vendors selling for an average price of $11,554.

From the Hereford catalogue there was an offering of eight Yallaroo bulls that all sold to a top of $21,000 and average price of $14,063.

The sale topper, Yallaroo Ranger R9 (P), sold to repeat buyer Matt Della Gola, who trades as Tonebridge Grazing in Boyup Brook.

Mr Della Gola said Ranger represented outcross genetics and had good constitution, conformation and phenotype to go over a nucleus of Hereford cows to breed bulls for a 1200 commercial herd.

“Ranger represents a new genetic line from Yallaroo,” he said.

Yallaroo stud co-principal Rob Francis said Ranger, sired by Mount Difficult Kearney K18, combined length, growth, weight and performance.

“Ranger is a top sire out of our dam Yallaroo Juliet,” he said.

Mr Della Gola also secured a second Kearney son for $14,000 and a son of Yallaroo Monarch M17 for $8000.

From the Charolais catalogue, an offering of 32 bulls resulted in 22 sold to a top of $15,500 and average price of $6350.

The sale topper, Coppelstone Ringo R26 (P), sold to 15-year client D Della & Son of Pemberton, who uses Charolais bulls in an Angus cross breeding program.

Copplestone stud co-principal Peter Milton said Ringo, sired by Paringa Laredo L305 (P) was a standout that had length, great depth of body and thickness over the spine with softness to spare.

The Murray Grey bull line-up offered and sold 10 bulls to an equal top of $9500 and average price of $8000.

The two equal sale toppers were offered by Wundam Park stud in Boyup Brook and sold to repeat buyers through Elders Boyanup agent Pearce Watling.

Wundam Park stud co-principal David Corker said both bulls were sired by Southend Nike N108 and were both stylish with good muscle pattern and smooth shoulders.

Two Angus bulls were sold from the Blenkinsop family’s Thompson Brook-based Charley Creek stud with one bull topping at $8500 and sold to account M & G Rowan-Robinson.

In a debut offering at Brunswick, the Bantock family of Ludlow-based Red Rock Red Angus stud offered and sold three bulls to a top of $6500.

The buyer of the sale topper, Red Rock Rascal R7, was Sonia Bennett, who trades as Magic Valley Beef Red Angus stud in Harvey.

“We selected the soft-coated bull to go over stud heifers,” she said.

Three Limousin bulls offered by the Donaghy family of Brunswick-based Kelside stud all sold to the equal top of $9000 twice which was a good finishing result to what was a most memorable sale at the Alan Evans Selling complex.

The crowd of more than 130 people wore masks inside the shed and were seated apart to observe safe COVID protocols and regulations.

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