Australian farm buys prize heifer at sale

EDMONTON — With shaking hands, Rachael Wheeler held her cellphone to her ear to get the final go ahead from her parents in Australia to nod her head one more time and buy a bred heifer at the Headliner All Breed Sale at Farmfair International.


Wheeler’s final bid of $27,000 bought her DMM Blackcap Essence 7Y, a Black Angus heifer from Miller Wilson Angus in Bashaw, Alta, owned by Lee and Dawn Wilson.


“I’m still shaking. I think everyone could see how nervous I was. I show cows and I never get that nervous. It’s really nice to be able to come and do this,” said Wheeler of Dubbo, New South Wales.


Wheeler’s parents, Michelle and Daniel, used a live internet connection to watch the sale on their computer and give the nod for the final purchase.


“It was a bit hard to hear,” she said.


“Your auction system is a bit different than ours so I actually had someone here helping here. They were watching the auction as it happened, live streamed. They could see exactly what was happening. It was just a matter of keeping in touch and making sure we got it done.”


It’s the fifth time Wheeler has travelled to Canada to check out and buy Canadian cattle for her aunt and uncle’s Hollywood Angus operation and now for her own family’s T & R Cattle.


“We wanted to buy a good heifer over here and we wanted to buy the top one we could get,” she said.


“She’s just a super made heifer. I’ve been over here four or five times, and Lee and Dawn’s cattle have always been on the top of my list. They’ve probably got one of the best breeding herds I’ve ever seen. This heifer just caught my eye. We liked her pedigree, we like her sire. When you look at all his progeny and offspring he’s had, they’ve all had that same gain. So we certainly knew we are going on the right track.”


Wheeler said they plan to leave the heifer in Canada for future shows and bring embryos from the heifer back to Australia for their own herd.


Dawn Wilson said the heifer has been “pretty special right from a calf” and hoped it would bring a good price at the Headliner show.


“You’re always hoping. You always hope your best ones are worth good dollars,” said Miller.


It’s the third year for the multi-breed sale at Farmfair. The owners of the top five animals in the judging before the sale and the people who bought them in the sale split $20,000 in payout money.


“It’s a great opportunity for people to take part in a sale,” Wilson said.


“It’s a multi-breed sale so any breed can take part. What other sale in the world are you going to win $5,000 for the seller and the buyer and then it goes down the line. It’s not just the winner, it’s the reserve, third, fourth and fifth, that all make some money.”


Wilson and Wheeler were each paid $5,000 for their first place in the sale and buying the first place animal.


Second place finisher in the show, a bred heifer with the second highest purchase price, was a Limousin owned by Greenwood Limousin of Lloydminster, Sask. The heifer was bought by Pinnacle View Limousin in Quesnel, B.C.

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