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    Renard welcomes Rupari Joiner d'Poll


    Facebook bid hits $50,000
    Louise Preece•16 Mar 2015, 2:39 p.m.
    Rupari principal, Linden Roberts, Bob Andrews, Old Kentucky Blondes, Wangaratta, and Chris McIlroy, Agri-Gene, with the $50,000 bull.

    Rupari principal, Linden Roberts, Bob Andrews, Old Kentucky Blondes, Wangaratta, and Chris McIlroy, Agri-Gene, with the $50,000 bull.

    A SPONTANEOUS Facebook auction has led to a Victorian Poll Blonde d'Aquitaine bull fetching what is believed to be a world record price for the breed at $50,000.

    The previous Australian highest sale price record for a Blonde Bull was $14,500.

    The off-the-cuff silent helmsman auction was initiated by Bob Andrews, Wangaratta, for an 18-month-old bull, Rupari Joiner d'Poll - bred and owned by Greg and Linden Roberts, Rupari Polled Blondes, Yarrawonga.

    Mr Andrews said he first viewed the bull in December on the Roberts' farm, and admitted he was "gobsmacked" by its quality.

    He was extremely impressed by the fact the animal was homozygous polled, and said he rated the bull 98.5 out of 100 on all traits.

    Although Mr Roberts was not interested in selling the imposing bull, Mr Andrews put up a picture of the animal on his Facebook page about a week ago, not realising how much attention it would get.

    It attracted interest from about eight Blonde breeders; and a silent helmsman auction quickly eventuated.

    "I said I thought he would get $15,000, but it wasn't serious in the beginning," Mr Andrews said.

    By lunchtime, the auction had hit $20,000.

    "I thought I better phone Greg to see if he would put the bull on the market," he added.

    When the bids reached $27,000 by 3pm, Mr Andrews decided he wanted to put in a bid too, and contacted Agri-Gene - and together they formed a syndicate to up the offer to $50,000.

    When the auction closed at 5pm, Mr Roberts was informed about the final bid, and after an inspection of Rupari Joiner d'Poll last Saturday, the deal was done.

    "When I first got the phone call, I asked whether they were serious," Mr Roberts said, who has devoted the past eight years breeding quality polled Blonde genetics.

    "We initially didn't want to sell because he was so good and we wanted to keep him for ourselves, but that was just too much money to refuse."

    Mr Roberts said he did not expect to sell another $50,000 bull in his lifetime.

    He said the heightened interest stemmed from the bull's polled gene.

    "When we first said we were going to breed polled Blondes in the beginning, everyone said we were silly, but we stuck to guns," he said. "I guess people thought it was too difficult."

    He said the challenge was in breeding a polled bull that was as good as a horned bull.

    "This bull is as good as - or even better - than the best quality horn bulls," Mr Robert said.

    Part-owners Mr Andrews and Agri-Gene principal, Chris McIlroy, agreed.

    They have both identified a world shortage of high-quality Poll Blonde genetics, and since signing the $50,000 deal this week, they've already sold 3000 straws of semen offshore.

    They are confident of making their money back on the investment.

    Mr Roberts said the sale was a reflection of the growth and widening appeal of Blonde cattle within the Australian beef industry.

    The bull is expected to spend the next few months in an AI centre, but when collection is finished, he will live at Mr Andrews' Wangaratta farm.

    Mr Andrews is the father of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews - and dispersed his own Blonde stud, Old Kentucky, late last year, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    But his diagnosis appeared to be more positive now, after doctors recently told him a scan came up clear.

    "I was initially told I had three months to live. I just can't explain what's happened," he said.

    "During the last few weeks, I've been able to buy back some of my best foundation cows, and I'm pretty happy to have them back."

    He was looking forward to building up his herd back up slowly, and he anticipated the $50,000 was going to make a big impact on quality.

    Mr Andrews added 10 per cent of the profit from the bull's semen sales will be donated to a new foundation that he and wife Jan have established, which will go towards cancer research and equipment.

    Mr Roberts has donated the first $5000 to the foundation, which was the commission from the sale.

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