Casterton dog auction gets online boost to $15,000 top price

Terry Sim June 11, 2019

Casterton Kelpie Association president Karen Stephens, left, with Trent Bettess, his new $15,000 Kelpie Whiskey and breeder Jack Leonard.

ONLINE bidding has opened up Australia’s premier working dog auction at Casterton in Victoria to a new group of buyers from across the nation.

Dogs sold to Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania on Sunday.

Western Australian buyer Deborah Butler, right paid $8000 for Kayne Gardner’s 24 month-old Lexi and $2500 for Nancy Withers’ 5.5 month-old pup Tyne at the Casterton auction.

Auction committee chairman John Matthews said several dogs were sold into Western Australia, one to Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. WA sheep and beef producers Peter and Deborah Butler from Bolinda Vale Grazing, Keysbrook, drove over to attend the Casterton Kelpie Muster and auction, and bought two Kelpies for $8000 and $2500.

The auction had 17 active online bidders, who competed on 25 lots, which Mr Matthews said helped underpin the auction.

“We had 107 online bids and they purchased nine dogs through AuctionsPlus.”

Mr Matthews said the most important result from the online initiative was generating almost 4500 catalogue views on AuctionsPlus prior to the auction.

However, despite the online facility attracting new bidders, South Australian buyers dominated bidding and repeat buyer, Keith prime lamb producer Trent Bettess, returned to pay the top price of $15,000 for his latest Kelpie at auction on Sunday.

Co-auctioneer James Tierney sold Mr Bettess a 32 month-old Kelpie bitch Whiskey offered by Melville Forest stockman Jack Leonard for the top price. The bitch by Barry Price, Moora Kelpies, Macarthur. The young South Australian farmer said he has progressively had to pay more for replacement Kelpies at Casterton, including $7200 in 2015, $5000 in 2011 and $2000 in 2009.

“So you can see the trend in the prices.”

The auction’s 66 lots comprised 51 dogs and 15 pups, with joint auctioneers Mr Tierney and Bernie Grant selling 57 dogs for 86.4 percent clearance at an average of $4908 for a gross of $279,250. Trained dogs averaged $6556, started dogs averaged $2367 and pups sold to $3250 for Daniel Lutz’s Princess and averaged $1375.

Mr Matthews said the auction was extremely successful with a good clearance of the catalogue which had a good variety of genetics, new and established vendors.

“We are starting to put some pressure on some notable breeders and trainers that if you want to sell your dogs and showcase them to a wider audience you need to be bringing your dogs to Casterton.”

The top price is well below the auction’s previous top price of $22,200 set last year for Christian Peacock’s Glencairn Seven. The Australian working dog auction record price of $25,000 was set at the 2019 Jerilderie auction in February for Shane Maurer’s pregnant Kelpie bitch Eveready Possum.

Whiskey was the most polished dog there

Trent Bettess said Whiskey was the most polished and ready-to-start dog he saw at the auction.

“I’ve bought three dogs from Jack before.

“I know Jack is a pretty good operator,” he said.

“I’m very happy with Whiskey, she is going to fit in with my program very well – she will be a nice calm little paddock dog and be able to do everything.”

“I was looking for a dog that was an all-rounder; I’ve got a straight yard dog, so I was looking for a dog to complement him and I need a dog for everyday work.”

The Betters operation includes 2000 Merino and 2000 composite breeding ewes, kept for prime lamb production.

“We try to get big lambing percentages, big weight gains and fat lambs through the spring.”

Other top prices at the auction included $12,000 for Jack Leonard’s 17 month-old Rose, $8000 for Travis Scott’s 45 month-old Larnach Dodge, $9000 for Clint Shelton’s 32 month-old Island Maverick, $10,000 for Campbell Smedley’s 31 month-old Tundabardi Chick, $8500 for Lucy Sellers 28 month-old Willshaw Louie, $8000 for Ryan Lenehan’s 21 month-old Jenkins Fred and $9000 for Alister Leonard’s 16 month-old Russ.


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