10/27/2012 7:00 AM
By Shannon Sollinger Virginia Correspondent
ALDIE, Va. — Whitestone Farm’s 23rd annual fall production sale Oct. 20 sent 68 lots through the ring in a little under three hours.
Buyers, some first time, some returning for the 20th year, came looking for show calves, heifer replacements, cows to found a seed stock herd and just plain good money-making stock.
“We want you to buy our cattle with confidence,” said Whitestone Farm General Manager Mark Duffell. “If they work for you, if they are profitable, you’ll be back. Let’s have a good sale.”
And they did: 68 lots — heifers, cows, cow-calf pairs and a handful of yearling bulls — sold for a total of $518,200, averaging $7,621 per lot.
Russ Caudill, from Star, N.C., was at his first Whitestone sale and took home the third-highest price purchase of the day, Whitestone Blackcap Y919 for $19,500.
Caudill grew up on dairy farm and on his C & R Caudill Farm has about 40 commercial cows and some chickens. He also grows some row crops. Last March he bought his first registered Angus, a cow from the herd of neighbor Kerry Collins (his Blue Q Ranch farm name is a nod to his days as a Carolina Panthers quarterback).
“He had bought at Whitestone,” Caudill said, “and really liked Mark (Duffell) and the whole Whitestone Farm operation.”
So when Caudill decided to develop a seed stock herd, he spent a few days at Whitestone with Duffell, Whitestone’s general manager for 25 years.
“This was not a spur of the moment decision,” Caudill said. “I’m going on their advice and this is a cow that has performed really well for Whitestone.”
Blackcap is due to deliver a SAV Angus Valley calf next January. “(Angus Valley) is a young bull, new to breeding,” Caudill said. “We hope it does really well.”
He also said he really hopes the January calf is a heifer to beef up his breeding program.
Diamond Angus of Chevy Chase, Md., is no newcomer to the sale and went to $45,000, top price of the sale, for the third heifer into the ring, yearling Whitestone Lady. The heifer is out of Whitestone’s foundation donor, Sinclair Lady 2P61 4465, who generated more than $1 million in progeny sales and produced, among other top offspring, Whitestone Advocate, the top selling bull in Whitestone’s 2009 sale.
Woodside Farm manager Trey Gum did the most buying, 11 lots, including the winning $20,000 bid for the first heifer in the ring, yearling Whitestone Marcia A225. Her sire is Connealy Consensus 7229, also the sire of the sale topper, and she’s out of Whitestone’s Pathfinder Dam TC Marcia 1069.
Marcia and the 14 other heifers and cows — three of his purchases were cow-calf pairs — will join the show herd at Woodside in Clear Brook, Va., near Berryville.
“I liked how she was bred, she’ll work well with our herd,” Gum said.
In the last year, Gum has added at least two other sale-toppers to the Woodside herd: EXAR Primrose 8786 for $5,000 from the inaugural Locust Hill sale last fall, and Rita 5F56 of 1198 for $62,500 from the Wehrman dispersal this summer.
Woodside is hosting the Oct. 27 Northern Virginia Angus Association Fall Female Classic and a flush from the Wehrman sale-topper will be offered.
Virginia Angus Association President Jason Pratt and his neighbor Glenn Wheeler, both up from Atkins in southwest Virginia, came looking for a good show heifer for a neighbor’s son.
“We do show some Angus,” Wheeler said, “but we’re here for a buddy who couldn’t come today. We’ll be spending his money.”
He was leaning, he said, to the front-lawn heifers on display before the sale, because, “These heifers are ready to show, halter broke and they’ve been cleaned up.”
The heifers that have been handled less, he said, might go at a better price, but then they might object to the show ring. “There’s less risk this way. Some you work with and they don’t come around. They’re too spooky.”
Wheeler spent $3,250 for lot 21, Whitestone Gammer B102, a 10-month-old heifer from the first crop of Whitestone Black Arrow Z101, the $150,000 all-time sale-topper for Whitestone,
Pratt, whose Echo Ridge Farm will hold its Black Friday Bull and Female Sale Nov. 23, came to help shop for the heifer and to “look at some different genetics, compare how it works here, see if we want to use those bulls in our operation. We’re not quite as elite as Whitestone — they’ve got some of the best genetics and elite cows in the breed.”
Cows dominated the sale, but 11-year-old bulls went for prices ranging from $10,000 (flush brother to the $20,000 lot 1) to $2,400 (by Whitestone Millionaire Y060, $50,000 sale-topper in 2010). Gerry Hall’s Poorhouse Farm in nearby Upperville took three of the bulls.
Sale manager Tom Burke, American Angus Hall of Fame in Smithville, Mo., started the sale with a recap of the Angus accomplishments for the year: 320,000 head registered, more than all other beef breeds combined, and 810 million pounds of Certified Angus Beef sold worldwide.
He introduced Whitestone owner George Lemm as “the happiest Angus man God put on this earth.”