At an auction held at the Ralfe family farm in the Elandslaagte area on Friday this week, despite the tough economic climate, this three-years-and-10-month-old champion had breeders eagerly loosening their purse strings.
To put it into perspective, 68 bulls sold at an average of R110000, so to garner a bid of R1.8m bull LAR14173 was indeed the head honcho of the herd.
A leading South African auctioneer, Brandon Leer of AAM Livestock Agents and Auctioneers, said in over 30 years in the trade he found the bull to be one of the best he had ever seen.
“There is no doubt the Up George Bonsmara Stud is one of best Bonsmara producers in South Africa.”
Leer says he opened the bidding at R200 000.
“There were great expectations, and a lot of hype around this sale. Sometimes there was a bit of a lag in bidding, but by the time it went past R1.2m, they really got into it.
“Until then, many thought they had an opportunity, but there were just two end-bidders and they had real conviction in their bidding.”
The winning bid went to the AVD Group, but the Sunday Tribune has not been able to establish from which province.
For those who might not know their Brahmin from their Bonsmara, the latter is a South African breed that has found its way onto studs as far afield as Australia and Brazil.
About 30 years ago, Derek and his father, Lawrence Ralfe, started the Up George Farm in the Elands- laagte area. Both Derek and his wife, Tutu, grew up on farms and acquired their passion for breeding cattle from their fathers, both highly respected cattlemen.
According to Karen Melouney, one of the owners of AAM, Bonsmaras are scientifically bred, strictly selected and popular with both stud and commercial breeders.
“They adapt well on the veld and are renowned for their mothering ability, fertility, high weaning weights, easy calving and superior growth under intensive and extensive conditions and have a good temperament,” said Melouney.
According to Tutu, who is delighted with the outcome of the auction, their herd is not pampered. “They run on the veld with a lick given in accordance with the season. We are very hands-on and apply a strict vaccination and health programme."