VIOLET Town wool grower and dipping contractor James Fowler believes being honest, fair and always presenting a good dog to buyers is the secret to success at working dog auctions.
He sold the top-priced dog at the 2020 Jerilderie Working Dog Auction, 28 month-old Kelpie, Nomak Ace, for $21,000 to Andrew and Denita Donnan from Anden White Suffolk Stud at Woomelang, Victoria.
James and Stuart Iddles are the owners of the Nomak Kelpies stud and bred Ace – out of Nomak Onyx by Jumbuck Boomer.
“It wasn’t expected, I‘m obviously very very proud of my achievement, I’ve got a pretty good track record up there,” James said.
He has a strong record of selling dogs in the high price bracket at the Jerilderie auction, including holding the auction record some years ago, but said the $21,000 (excluding GST) result, “absolutely blew me away.”
James said he handles a lot of sheep, his dogs get a lot of work and “they just come up.”
He believes his reputation held him in good stead in March 1 auction, with the two under-bidders to Ace’s buyers being previous buyers of his dogs.
“That was the big difference for me, they obviously trust me and have had my trained dogs and were prepared to push the buyer of the $21,000 dog.”
Buyer Andrew Donnan said Ace was a good all-rounder, very friendly and disciplined, and quiet in the paddock.
“I’ve got stud sheep, they don’t need much of a hurry on – I just needed a steady dog.
“He is extremely good in the yards, but I won’t be using him much in the yards,” he said.
“My last dog was $3000 about 11 years and he has repaid himself about a hundred times.
“Sheep a worth a lot of money these days, so he (ACE) was worth it.”
The Donnan family’s Anden Stud runs about 550 stud White Suffolk, Ultra White and Suffolk ewes plus their lambs, plus another 1500-2000 commercial prime lamb mothers at Woomelang about 85 kilometres west of Swan Hill.
Jerilderie Working Dog Auction co-coordinator Andrew Rutherford said more dogs sold for over $10,000 at the auction. Elders auctioneer Nick Gray also sold two dogs for $19,000, and the sale average for the 55 dogs sold of 62 offered was $7086.48, $1100 up on last year. Five dogs were passed in and two were withdrawn.
Andrew said good livestock prices and the involvement of AuctionsPlus bringing bids from areas less affected by drought helped the sale result.
“A significant number of dogs went to the Western District of Victoria, where obviously the season is quite a bit better than it is here.”
Dogs also sold to Western Australia and to Queensland.
“We generally sell dogs into every state, but we’ve never sold a dog into the Northern Territory.”
Andrew said sheep can cattle farmers have come back strongly into the auction and outcompeted the goat sector, which had previously provided the top buyers.
“The losing bidder on the top-priced dog was a goat musterer.”
Andrew said James Fowler has topped the Jerilderie auction twice previously and achieved previous Australian record prices of $12,000 and $13,200. Jerilderie last year set the national working dog auction price record of $25,000 for Shane Maurer’s Eveready Possum.
“I think our sale average (this year) would be an Australian auction average record.
“The local paper is going to say that we have just been confirmed as the premier working dog auction in the country,” he said.
“We’ve set the Australian record price three years in a row and this year we’ve set the record average price, so we are just giving them a bit of encouragement to come back with something a bit better next year.”