Droughtmaster’s record-run injects bull-buying confidence into Spring sales

20 Sep 2023


A string of market-defying high prices paid for Droughtmaster cattle this month is a signal to buyers that astute producers expect strong dividends from their investment in the breed despite forecasts of adverse weather and trading conditions weighing on the industry.

With more private on-property and multi-vendor Droughtmaster sales still left in the Spring calendar throughout Queensland, Northern NSW producer and Droughtmaster Australia president, Todd Heyman, is confident the renowned flexibility and adaptability of the breed will underpin further buying intent as the season lengthens into a forecast hot and dry summer.

“The time to be investing in Droughtmaster bloodlines is now,” Mr Heyman said.

“They’ve proven they can handle turning, tough seasonal conditions and give producers options when they need to pivot towards other markets. In my view, that is where the confidence from buyers is coming from.”

Mr Heyman’s assessment is based on results from two of the breed’s biggest benchmark sales in Central Queensland this month – the National Droughtmaster Bull Sale at CQLX, Gracemere and the on-property Glenlands Droughtmaster events at Bouldercombe near Rockhampton that offered stud sires and elite females to what the Droughtmaster Australia president describes as an “increasingly discerning buying panel”.

Solid buying started from the Droughtmaster National on September 12 and 13, carrying momentum into the Glenlands ‘Future Proof’ Female Sale on the evening of September 13 and the stud’s Annual Bull Sale the following day.

At the fall of the last hammer at Glenlands, prices paid for registered bulls and females would reach record heights across an astounding 24-hour period, in which Droughtmaster bull records were broken twice on the same day.

Sustaining the purchasing strength was new interest from a wider spread of buyers, with Western Australian bidders out in force as well as overseas interests connecting with local support.

The breed’s new peak Droughtmaster bull was the 21-month-old PP homozygous poll Glenlands D Everest, which sold for a record-setting $320,000 to a syndicate representing South Africa’s Considerata Holdings and Samari Stud, Hughenden.

Everest was an IVF son of Rondel Whiskey, purchased by a partnership of High Country Droughtmasters, Nindethana Droughtmasters and Glenlands D Droughtmasters at the Droughtmaster National in 2020 for $160,000, whose sons and daughters appeared in the Glenlands sale catalogue for the first time this year.

Earlier in the sale, Glenlands D Empire State, another Whiskey son, was sold for $240,000 to the O’Neill family of Nyanda Pastoral, Rolleston. Empire State held the breed record before surpassed by the spirited bidding for Everest moments later.

Just 24 hours earlier, Glenlands re-set the Droughtmaster breed female record, selling English Rose for $70,000 during the stud’s separate annual female sale. She is a full sister from the same flush as the new record-priced Droughtmaster bull sold the following day.

The sale of English Rose eclipsed the breed’s previous female record of $42,500 set in 2007.

Glenlands stud co-principal, Darren Childs, said the “big money” was coming from seedstock producers who needed to maintain genetic progress as their priority.

“They are looking ahead to two to three years down the track, when calves from these sires will be making their mark,” he said.

“Despite what the season might be doing, they still have to run their business and they’re looking at the Droughtmaster and saying these cattle are very well placed and have the proven ability to perform on a whole range of metrics when things get tough and tighten up.”

Droughtmaster stud breeder Cliff Mylrea, of Needmor stud, Gogango, said plans were well under way to maximise the return of the $140,000 price paid in partnership with Ken and Kerry McKenzie, Yaralla, Blackwater for the Droughtmaster National’s sale top, Seymour Navasota, bred and offered by Rob and Kirstie Orphant, of the Seymour Droughtmaster stud, Gunalda, near Gympie.

“He’ll go straight into stud duties, and we’ll collect from him over the next couple of weeks and keep him for a year before he’ll go to Ken’s place, while we continue with our AI program in the alternate years when we don’t have him,” Mr Mylrea said.

“Sometimes the more money you pay for a bull, the more you try to find something that’s wrong with him, but I can’t see it with this fella. I can’t stop looking at him in the paddock – he’s a beautiful animal.”

Vendor Rob Orphant said the sale-topper’s maternal line came from “a great cow family” based on Bryvonlea bloodlines.

“I always say the genetic imprint on an animal is 25 per cent from the bull and 75 per cent from its mother,” Mr Orphant said.

“There’s no doubt the maternal traits of the Droughtmaster female have given this young bull the best start, who will go on to improve the herds of his buyers.”


The National Droughtmaster Bull Sale top-price lot, Seymour Navasoto, offered by Rob and Kirstie Orphant, Gunalda and purchased by Cliff Mylrea, Needmor, Gogango and Ken and Kerry McKenzie, Yaralla, Blackwater.