Brad sells Harry the Kelpie for $25,750 at Jerilderie

Terry Sim, February 28, 2022

From left, auction co-ordinator Andrew Rutherford, with Elders’ Greg McNamara, Brad Pellow and Harry, Elders’ Nick Gray and auction co-ordinator Warwick Doolan. Image – Annabelle Lugsdin, Bel’s Rural Photography

AGRICULTURE’S labour shortage and booming sheep, cattle and goat prices were credited with boosting Kelpie dog prices to a record level at the annual Jerilderie Working Dog Auction on Saturday.

Auctioneers from Elders Rural Services sold 55 of the 57 dogs offered in the auction to a top price of $25,750 and an average of $10,509, for a gross of $578,000 (exclusive of GST).

Although the auction’s top price this year was only $750 above the auction’s previous top price set in 2019, auction co-ordinator Warwick Doolan said the 2022 average was a new Australian record, and about $60 up on Jerilderie’s average last year.

He said the $22,000 paid for Adrian Allbut’s nine month-old Kelpie bitch, DroversDream Trixie, via AuctionsPlus, was a new Australian record for a pup under 12 months.

“Without a massive increase in our top price, in four years we’ve seen a $3500 average price rise, so we are really only keeping in line with inflation.

“Whereas Casterton last year had a $35,200 top price, but they had a $7753 average and Wagga had a $34,000 top price last year and a $8773 average.”

Check out Harry working in the sheep yards.

Top dog heads to Wilcannia

Forbes farm manager Brad Pellow sold three year-old full trained Kelpie dog Harry to a Wilcannia station owner for the top price. Organisers said there was strong bidding from buyers operating over AuctionsPlus, with 26 dogs selling via the online platform. Dogs sold to buyers in five states.

Fellow auction co-ordinator Andrew Rutherford said it was a “red hot” auction. He attributed this to the current strong sheep, cattle and goat prices and the shortage of labour.

“One of the take home things I thought came out of it was how relaxed people are with AuctionsPlus now.

“There was a lot of registrations and a lot of dogs purchased just on a video.”

Mr Rutherford agreed a higher standard of dogs was coming forward for auctions from experienced dog handlers, breeders and triallers.

“It was an outstanding catalogue of dogs.”

On industry concerns that the popular ABC series Muster Dogs might have driven dog prices up, Mr Rutherford was unclear.

“I don’t know whether it has driven them up, but has certainly got people talking, hasn’t it?”

Mr Rutherford said people now realise that if they wanted a good working dog they had to be ready to spend at least $10,000.

“And when you’ve got an auction that averaged $10,500, that’s spot on, isn’t it?”

This is the best one I’ve sold so far…

A drone gets a bird’s eye view of Harry at work.

A pleased Brad Pellow said he was “enjoying the ride as long as it lasts” after selling a working dog for his highest price ever. He has been breeding, working and trialling work dogs for about 20 years.

“This is the best one that I have sold so far.

“Once you’ve had a good dog that you can rely on and he’s right when you go to let him go it’s hard to do it without them.”

Mr Pellow said the value of livestock is certainly giving people money to spend and the lack of staff as children leave farms for further education was also creating a demand for good dogs.

He described all-rounder Harry as a loyal enthusiastic and very experienced sheep dog with a good friendly nature and a strong work ethic, that excels in the paddock and yards. He said the dog has had two years of work experience mustering and yarding large mobs of ewes and lambs. He is easy to control and call off his stock, and works off the ute and buggy. One of Harry’s is an ability to catch fly-blown sheep off the back of the bike. Brad said Harry is also a proven sire and has been breeding promising station dogs. The dog has also competed and placed in yard trials.

Mr Pellow said the better quality dogs coming into auctions and honesty in descriptions and videos was giving people the confidence to bid online.

“You’ve just got to make sure that you are honest with your description.

“Don’t try to sugar coat them and don’t over-edit the video to hide the bad stuff.”

Other notable sales include the $21,500 paid for a 3.5 year-old trained Kelpie, Tundarbardi Murphy, sold by Aoidh Doyle.


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