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Droughtmaster bull Rondel Whiskey sets price record of $160,000 at auction

ABC Rural: Meg Bolton, Wednesday September 16, 2020 - 12:32 EST
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Luke Carrington from Rondel Droughtmaster Stud says the sale marks a change of fortune for his business. - ABC

Western Queensland bull Rondel Whiskey has officially become the most expensive Droughtmaster to be sold at the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange near Rockhampton.

The record price of $160,000 was set on the first day of the National Droughtmaster Bull Sale at Gracemere, on September 15.

Savage Barker & Backhouse auctioneer Josh Heck said the sale reflected confidence in the cattle industry and followed this season's trend.

"The sale has been about $3,000 up on previous years," he said.

"There's a lot of confidence in the market and people trying to buy the better bulls, because they're getting paid well for their cattle."

'Overwhelming' price for best bull

The bull was sold by Luke Carrington from Rondel Droughtmaster Stud, based 100 kilometres north of Winton.

He said getting the top price was "overwhelming", but the quality of the 21-month-old was second to none.

"He's a complete bull really — he's hard to fault," Mr Carrington said.

"You never get your hopes up, but if you made anything over $50,000 [that's good] … I was hoping to get $100,000.

"He has a good back on him, 142 EMA, a good set of testicles, 39 in the scrotum, and he's going to be a big bull with a beautiful head and muzzle, and that's hard to find."

Rondel Whiskey was purchased by the three-stud syndicate of High Country Droughtmasters, Nindethana Droughtmasters and Glenlands Droughtmasters.

Nindethana Droughtmasters owner Bronwyn Betts said joining forces made the purchase possible.

"The first plan is that we will collect semen from him and we will share that semen," she said.

"The bull will be heading south and a plan will be made to share him."

Glenlands Droughtmasters is located just outside Rockhampton, while Nindethana Droughtmasters and High Country Droughtmasters are located in Southern Queensland. 

Ms Betts said yesterday's purchase was her first as part of a syndicate and the most expensive bull she had ever bought.

"We certainly have a lot of confidence in the breeder [and] we have great admiration for the cattle," she said.

'We're doing something right'

Getting the top price marked a change of fortune for the Rondel stud.

After enduring the drought, the operation lost 50 to 60 stud breeding cattle and several calves in the 2019 floods.

Mr Carrington said he hoped the good conditions continued.

"We've been coming 12 years and this is the highest price we've ever got," he said.

"$68,000 was our best before this."

Mr Heck said the outlook was positive for the whole industry.

"We've got the best beef in the world, people are paying the most money for it," he said.

"We are obviously doing something right."

The National Droughtmaster Bull Sale will finish on Wednesday afternoon.


© ABC 2020

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