Even COVID-19 restrictions could not keep Queenslanders away from the some of best Santa Gertrudis genetics on offer in Australia.

A cattle breeder crossed the state’s southern border to New South Wales to pay the top price of $45,000 for a bull at a renowned annual auction north-west of Grafton.

The record stud sale for Yugilbar Station grossed $919,500 with 92 bulls averaging $9,098 and 10 heifers averaged $7,450 with a top price of $12,000.

It was a 100 per cent clearance with the Santa Gertrudis cattle sold to four states: NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and 50 per cent to Qld.

Stock and station agent Brent Casey spots a bid during the Yulgilbar Station auction.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

Yulgilbar Station’s general manager Rob Sinnamon said they were relieved and delighted with the results.

“The last 12 months we’ve had it all from drought to fire to COVID, and we’re humbled by the amount of support and really appreciated the number of people that attended the sale,” he said.

“We do rely on our Queensland clients to support our sale , so the difficulty in crossing the border in recent months has put a lot of pressure on that for us.”

Yulgilbar Station’s sale was run as a COVID-safe vent. Organisers recommended attendees keep a Santa Gertrudis bull apart.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

Yulgilbar had hoped, as with previous years, to fly in buyers on chartered planes from Queensland to its airstrip at nearby Baryulgil.

“So we sadly we weren’t able to have some of the people we typically fly into the sale in attendance this year.”

The owners of the historic pastoral property, Baillieu and Sarah Myer, were also unable to fly in from Victoria but were keen observers online.

“Mr Myer was able to give a pre-sale welcome … and absolutely hating the fact they couldn’t be here on the day,” he said.

Auction underway at the Yulgilbar Station’s selling complex at its Broadwater Division north of Baryulgil in northern New South Wales.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

The number of people in attendance was down substantially with 225 people signing in at the COVID-safe event compared with the estimated 400 to 500 last year.

The COVID-19 restrictions forced a shift towards online bidding with more than a quarter of the cattle sold through online auction platforms.

More than 800 people were logged on to Elite Livestock Auctions and Auctions Plus bringing the total sale attendance to over 1,000 people.

Top bull “worth the price”

Repeat buyer Bill Speed from Brigodoon Cattle Company made the trip from Wandoan in Queensland to the NSW Clarence Valley for the sale.

His budget was “a little bit less” than the $45,000 he paid for Yulgilbar Parramatta P130 (P) after intense competition from an online Queensland bidder.

“Sometimes you’ve got to keep going if you want the right one,” he said.

The family-owned company runs a few hundred Santa Gertrudis cows to breed bulls out of in addition to its feedlot.

“We’ve got a 4,000 to 5,000 head feedlot that we fatten all of our steers that we breed, and we also buy quite a few steers, and most of those go to Kilcoy Pastoral Company as Jap Ox, and they’re exported from there.”

Yulgilbar Station sold a total clearance of 92 Santa Gertrudis bulls to average $9,098 with a top price of $45,000.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

Mr Speed said the Santa Gertrudis genetics were very important to their operation.

“We’ve got soft country. It’s not harsh country, and we don’t need too high of content of Brahman to let the cattle survive.

“We run a pretty strict fertility line, we preg-test our maiden heifers and make sure we’re getting cattle that are very feminine and going to calf at an early age, and that seems to be working.”

He said his son-in-law also had a “really good day” picking up three bulls for a little over $10,000 each.

The second highest bull at $28,000 was bought by the managers of Yulgilbar, Rob and Lorraine Sinnamon, for their own operation at Kyogle, RL Pastoral Company.

Santa Gertrudis cattle grazing on Yulgilbar Station adjacent to the Clarence River in northern New South Wales.(ABC Rural: Kim Honan)

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